THE Garden House at Buckland Monachorum is looking forward to a particularly special season this year as it prepares to join in a landmark birthday celebration for one of the most famous names in garden design.

Visit England has designated 2016 as the Year of the English Garden to mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, renowned for designing some of the country’s greatest landscapes, including Ugbrooke and Mamhead in Devon.

The Garden House is hoping to use the initiative to raise its profile to as wide an audience as possible — and promote its popular ten acre English garden that is home to more than 6,000 plant varieties.

There are a number of new developments at the garden to coincide with the celebrations, led by a new planting project in the eye catching Ovals,  a particular talking point for visitors with its distinctive curved design.

Head Gardener Nick Haworth has taken inspiration for the plant combination from one of his predecessors Keith Wiley, who is credited with transforming the majority of the garden site during his 25 year tenure as head gardener in the 1980s.

The Ovals will combine yellow and blue colours with a background of Welsh Poppy, Saxifraga ‘Dentata’ and Brewer’s bishops cap, while a central ‘stream’ will be picked out in Corydalis ‘Tory MP’.

The display is completed with accent planting of purple and bronze or variegated foliage plants, such as heucheras and carex.

‘I have always been a great admirer of Keith’s naturalistic approach to garden design and I wanted to capture the essence of his original planting in the Ovals in this new project,’ said Nick.

‘Keith is a real innovator and the impact he had on The Garden House during his 25 years here was truly transformational.

‘In many ways he has a lot in common with Capability Brown, in his vision for gardens with great views and less formality.’  

There are a number of other new developments for visitors to look out for this year when the garden opens its doors to the public on Friday, March 4.

The area around the garden’s iconic dovecote, inaccessible for a number of years, has been cleared to create a stopping point for visitors.

More path widening has been carried out, providing better access to key areas of the garden for visitors in wheelchairs and a new path that better links the long walk at the quarry garden with the acer glade.