Hilliers to tempt visitors with UK’s longest border
White granite paving now holds back 30,000 new plants in the longest double border in the UK at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens.
The border is longer than Tower Bridge, says the garden’s director, Wolfgang Bopp.
There are “new-on-the-scene plants” says their head of collections, David Jewell.
This unveiling concludes a five year project to redesign and replant the ‘Centenary Border’ that was originally planted in 1964 by Sir Harold Hillier to celebrate 100 years of his family business.
Hillier Gardens wants to inspire visitors with exciting plant combinations and offer ideas for their own gardens. It follows 80% removal of overgrown plants by the garden’s team and many of their 150 volunteers.
I feel especially excited to tread the border’s grass promenade again after tending their old border during my horticultural training at the 180 acre gardens and arboretum.
The deeper borders now have all-weather access and new diagonal paths to tempt visitors to explore the woodland heart of this world-renowned temperate plant collection.
Landscape designer Julia Fogg said to the Landscape Institute last year “We were keen to maintain the traditional feel of the central path, but also involve visitors more directly with the planting by the way of secondary angled cross paths that lead through the borders and offer an optional route in and out of the bordering woodland.”
Through the ages
This investment by Hillier Gardens needs to pay back in visitor numbers. It’s all eyes on their marketing and taking every chance to nudge up secondary spend once people are on-site.
The Centenary Border particularly needs to delivery when historic and botanic gardens have struggled to attract visitors in 2012′s poor weather in addition to the continued recession that deterred cash-poor households in 2011.
I’ve worked in a number of open gardens and the most successful continuously research what visitors need and test ideas. And better still, create the demand in the first place with community outreach. While there’s an inevitable dip in the public’s ‘discretionary’ garden visits during economic downturn, imaginative investment will help moderate the impact.
UK gardens with long borders
News round up
- HW: Chainsaw reviews with Hillier arborists, Sally Drury, June 2012
- HW: Camellias add to early display
- HW: English Heritage Historic & Botanic Garden Bursary graduates enter the industry
- HW: Horticulture groups among winners of Heritage Lottery Fund’s £17m skills training programme
- HW: Mini tornado fells 50 trees at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens
With many thanks