Wednesday, 7 October 2009

ABC Wednesday 5/ Garden Visit: L is For...

... Lackham Country Park
On the surface Lackham Country Park has a lot to offer. It's just a five minute journey from where I live, the entrance fee is relatively inexpensive and there's a leaflet available to take you on an historical journey around the gardens. It has large grounds with small rural life museum housing both traditional buildings like the one shown above and also farming implements...


... plus an historic house built on a site which has had a manor house on there in various shapes and forms for 1,000 years. It was the headquarters of General Patton and American troops just before the WWII D-Day landings and today often plays host to weddings.

There's views across the large lawn to Lackham Farm and the countryside beyond leading down to the meandering River Avon...

... plus an orchard and a walled kitchen garden with pear trees waiting for their partridges...

... whilst not forgetting colourful flowers...

... and productive beds including a display of wartime vegetable growing over the old air raid shelter.

There's also a large greenhouse containing a citron tree (Citrus medica) which once bore the world's largest lemon - 10lb 9.5oz in 1989.

However, a lot of the garden looked rather tired and scruffy round the edges and the museum is poorly curated. I visited early last month and there was a distinct lack of colour in most parts plus a lot of bare earth. It seemed like a number of projects had been undertaken at various times, which possibly aren't being looked after that well nowadays.

There were also signs of projects to come, probably as part of the practical work component of the courses on offer at the agricultural college housed on the same site.

I'm quite disappointed and mystified. The college offers courses in both garden design and amenity horticulture and whilst funding will be relatively low for a county hall financed operation, I was expecting the grounds to be a showcase of the horticultural talent which does so well at local shows. I wonder if the focus is mainly on the farming operations side, as this will provide a greater income.

Looking at the website, I'm surprised there only seems to be opportunities for volunteers to 'meet and greet' visitors. Perhaps they need to follow the example of places like the National Trust and also offer garden maintenance positions? This would also go some way to help over the vacation periods when students aren't around to look after the gardens.

Just like last week's ABC Wednesday entry, I'll be sending a link to the college for comment.

For further posts on the subject of L, do Look at the Lovely ABC Wednesday blog.

15 comments:

  1. Sorry VP, but are you saying, Lacking lacks? Too bad, those volunteer ag students would get a real hands on learning experience by planting and maintaining this space. Someone needs a pinch to get this going.
    Frances

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  2. I know that feeling 'lovely garden but needs more love'. Our local agricultural college Kingston Maurward, has beautiful gardens - well worth a visit if you are in the area again. Last time I went in September, the have collections of penstomen and salvas so it was a good time to visit.

    Best wishes Sylvia

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  3. So sad to see places like this deteriorate! Looks like a lovely place! Yes, someone does need a pinch to get moving on improvements! Very interesting post and lovely shots for the L Day!

    Enjoy!

    Sylvia (Seattle)

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  4. a pity, it seems that latham got halfway up the hill & then stalled out! although the wartime vegs seem to be holding thier own.

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  5. I'd volunteer to go and do some gardening there, it has such potential for improvement!

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  6. I wonder what it's like at other times of year.

    Lucy

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  7. Am loving the look of rhubarb over air raid shelter! I must get one, if only for a veg supporting structure...

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  8. There's something that comes across as rather poignant about the place that draws me in... the post perhaps masking the lack of care/attention to the place despite photos to the contrary.

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  9. Great place, been there many times.

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  10. Frances - it has the makings of a really great garden, but for whatever reason it doesn't at the moment. That's my opinion, you'll see Hermes, who lives not far from me thinks differently.

    Sylvia - I wondered how Kingston Maurward compared - I would expect them to be of a similar standard.

    Sylvia K - welcome! It is a lovely place and some TLC would make it even lovelier. It would also mean the possibility of making a better income for the college too as it's close to a number of towns.

    Petoskystone - they are very healthy aren't they!

    Nutty Gnome - that's exactly what I was saying to myself as I went round. It has so much potential.

    Lucy - I have been earlier in the year, but it was quite a while ago. My overall impression is of a slight improvement, but there's still a long way to go.

    Dawn - I love rhubarb - one of the best things on my plot. Your children would love hiding under it and using the leaves as umbrellas :)

    Bay Area Tendrils - welcome! It's got that air of knowing it's had a glorious past doesn't it? Around the front of the house there's a glimpse of what could be as the areas much better kept, presumably because the area used for weddings.

    Hermes - for once we're in a slight disagreement. I think it's a good place which could be great. There's perhaps a bit of a catch-22, the entrance fee could be more, thus generating a better income to help with maintenance costs, BUT the gardens need to be better maintained to justify that increase.

    It was interesting the last time I was there because it was a special event, so the costs were higher £4.50, though you could get a discount if you were a member of the local gaden centre's gardening club. I saw at least 2 families of 4, plus several people turn away because they thought that was too expensive for what was on offer.

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  11. What a lovely place, and what a shame it's not living up to its potential. I hope you get a good response from your e-mail.

    Thanks for your post this week.
    The ABC Team.

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  12. What a delightuful visit. Thanks. I love espalier pears, specially when the ripe fruit hangs so temptingly. Almost like a Christmas tree with baubles that are just a tad too big.

    The wartime planting, round what looks like an Anderson shelter, looks fun. I can remember one like that in a friend's garden when I was very little in the 1950s

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  13. Too bad it isn't kept as well as it could be - seems like it would be such fun to work there...

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  14. I wonder if it's an economic problem that is reflected in the LACK of LOVE.

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  15. Dragonstar - thanks, I do enjoy ABCWednesdays!

    Nige - I always think of oversize earrings when I see pears like these. I can just about remember an Anderson shelter in a garden when I was a child - I can't remember if it was in ours or a neighbour's garden though.

    Tumblewords - yes, it's a shame.

    Roger - it's been that way for quite a while. Lack of money is a factor I'm sure, but I think there might be a lack of vision too

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