Gardeners recreate Jekyll planting scheme for Victorian Terrace

IMG_3504The gardeners at Hestercombe have been busily emptying one of the flower beds around the balustrade of the Victorian Terrace, but don’t panic, it’s all to ensure the original planting schemes designed by Gertrude Jekyll, are followed.

The plants that have been taken out are a mix of fuchsias, penstemon and roses, which were planted in the 1970s by Somerset County Council.

The Hestercombe archivist Kim Legate has researched a selection of photographs from the Victorian era and tried to establish the original planting schemes. Photographic evidence has shown that there had been two different schemes, an earlier photograph showing a row of annuals as a continuation of the ribbon border bedding scheme, and a latter photograph which shows climbers along the balustrade and shrubs in the beds.

Head gardener Claire Greenslade (pictured) said: “We felt the earlier scheme was more important as it made the whole terrace look more finished and was in keeping with the Victorian style of gardening. It gave a clearer view down to the Jekyll garden and kept the Victorian garden looking more separate from the Edwardian garden. From a practical point of view the bedding scheme would provide colour all year round, whereas the climbers could look tatty out off season.”

I5 - 1908 Balustrade from the Formal Garden

Now the beds have been cleared and dug over to remove bindweed and oxalis. Organic matter has been added in the form of our home made compost.  Edging boards will be replaced to give a better edge and keep this garden really sharp.   The plants that were in here will be potted up and sold on in plant sales to aid the charity.

New bedding should be ready to go in at the end of May to complete the new look.

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 1. Claire Greenslade, head gardener at Hestercombe, digs out the Victorian Terrace for re-planting.

2. A 1908 image of the balustrade at Hestercombe from Country Life Magazine.