Garden visits: E.H. Wilson memorial garden

plant-hunters, garden, E.H. Wilson, famous, stone arch

Entrance to Wilson memorial garden

E.H. Wilson was born in Chipping Campden in 1876.  A small memorial garden to the great plant-hunter can be found there.  Barely noticeable, the garden is accessed through a small arch, which is not much more than a gap in the wall at the northern end of the High Street.  I stumbled across the garden on a walk whilst visiting my grandparents  a year or two ago – I had not known it was there before that.

The garden is simple in design with a path around its perimeter surrounding a central lawn area; I understand, it was laid out to a design by Sir Peter Shepherd (of building fame).

magnolai, important garden plants, planting design

Magnolia wilsonii

roses, garden plants, wilson, chinese

Rosa corymbulosa

The planting palette consists, mainly, of shrubs and small trees (from Wilson’s plant catalogue), such as: Magnolia wilsonii, Euonymus planipes, Indigofera amblyantha,  Davidia involucrata and Acer davidii; most are ranged around the boundary of the garden but some specimens are displayed on the lawn space.  I visited in April 2010 and it was mainly a green garden at that time.

garden design, memorial garden, planting design, chinese plants

The garden is formed by a path surrounding a central lawn space

What I like most about the garden is, perhaps, its seclusion; the way one happens across it, rather than if it was part of some grand tourist trail with all the paraphernalia that goes with that.  There is no coffee shop here!

unusual plants, garden plant, planting design, gardening

Salix fargesii

I do, however, feel that a sign from the main street is warranted.  Maybe the garden is marked on a walking route and I am sure there is information in the tourist office; I don’t know.  On the Chipping Campden website it says that the garden was put together by local fundraising and kind donations of plants.  And, it was opened by Roy Lancaster in 1984.  All laudable; but Wilson’s contribution to horticulture is so vast, I feel that a redesign of this space is needed to reflect this.  Time for an injection of Heritage Lottery fund money and a garden design competition, methinks.

plant names, garden plants, plant labelsI am sure that a new design can be achieved to showcase Wilson’s contribution whilst keeping the best that the existing garden has to offer…and also complying with Cotswold architecture.

Images with phone (apologies for quality).

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