Who says young people aren’t interested in gardening? Students at Bearwood College have attended a regular Saturday gardening slot activity to renovate a hidden garden and improve other parts of the estate.
Visitors to Bearwood’s Open Garden event on Sunday 27th May enjoyed the result of student efforts whilst also exploring the estate’s woodland walks, lake, grass meadow, colourful rhododendrons and traditional icehouse.
Built by Pulham and Company between 1879 and 1885, the hidden rock and water garden was designed for the estate’s owner of the time, John Walter III, who was the last private owner of The Times newspaper. The design of the garden mimics natural rock forms, waterfalls and pools; yet most of the rock is made from cleverly designed concrete, and the water was originally circulated by a pumping system.
The garden is hidden because it was sunk in a deep but narrow former clay pit which provided some of the bricks for the Mansion. The main house and other buildings on site now house Bearwood College, a boarding school. The garden is considered so important that a few years ago it was listed by the government on the National Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest.
Students have been uncovering the rock formations and removing a number of overgrown trees and shrubs which had broken up some of the Pulhamite concrete. Elsewhere on the estate they have planted some new rhododendron varieties most of which would have been available at the turn of the 20th century when the Walter family lived there.
Bearwood’s Open Garden is part of the National Garden Scheme where private owners open their gardens to the public. In the last 10 years the NGS has raised over £22 million which goes to a range of charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Help the Hospices and Crossroads Care.
This year the event was also supported by Wokefield Plants selling a range of interesting plants and by World Challenge groups from the College raising money for their trip.