Dawlish Garden Society Newsletter June 2020
The society is still planning to hold a summer plant sale on The Strand, we would like to arrange it on a day when there are other events in the town, when we have a date we will let everyone know.
Our next scheduled meeting is September 24th, we wait to see if groups will be allowed to meet by then. In the mean time the newsletter will come out monthly to keep us all in touch. All contributions welcome.
Tickets for NGS gardens that will be open the weekend of June 27/28, can be booked from the 22nd.
Rosemoor is open, however you need to book your slot before you go and take your own flask of coffee or tea.
I am told it is looking lovely.
The gardentrust.org.uk is starting up online lectures this month which are free. Go to their website to find out more and to book.
N.B. now is the time to sow winter brassicas seeds.
This month we were due to have a talk on ‘Perfect Propagation’ from Janice Hindley, a horticultural tutor at Bicton College. Instead, here is a brief guide to the Grade 1 listed gardens at Bicton which has all the elements that make up a classic Victorian garden. The gardens as we see them today were developed by successive Lord Rolles between 1800-1842.
In 1957 Bicton was sold and divided into three distinct properties, the college, the Bicton Park Trust, it is this third portion that is open to the public.
Arena and Entering the gardens through a late 18th Century
orangery, flanked on either side by temperate,
tropical, and arid houses. Before you is a classic
Italianate Garden which is the oldest feature of the
garden, dating to the mid 18th century. If you take
the path to your left you reach the shell house, rock
garden and fernery, all important elements in a
Victorian garden. The aristocracy used their gardens to display their wealth, and developed areas which showed off each new craze as it came into the country fuelled by plant explorers bringing new plants from across the world to Britain.
The American garden is an example of this where trees coming back from the ‘new world’ in the early 1800’s were planted. From the American garden you come to the Arboretum and then cross into the Pinetum, this is where the conifer collection was planted. Bicton has over 1,000 trees many champion and specimen trees, a guide and map to the trees of Bicton can be purchased from the reception.
At the far side of the garden is the Hermitage, built in 1839 and is where Lord and Lady Rolle use to spend their afternoons. As you walk back towards the orangery you pass the great lake which was dug out by French prisoners of war in 1812. You will then enter the Mediterranean and then the Rose garden. This allows you to finish with the highlight, ‘The Palm House’, which is the oldest surviving example of a glass house, predating the one at Kew by 20 years. It is constructed of 18,000 flat panes of glass and the curve of the roof is achieved through the invention of rolled wrought iron glazing bars.
For those who are less mobile there is a garden railway to take you around, and lots of interest close to the orangery. As you leave you will pass the entrance to Bicton College
next door and its magnificent monkey puzzle avenue, the monkey puzzle tree comes from Chile and was propagated in this country by the Veitch nurseries of Exeter, which will be a topic for the July newsletter.