Tresco Partnering With Isle Of Wight Gardens

Tresco's Abbey Garden

Tresco is forging a partnership with the Ventnor Botanic Gardens on the Isle of Wight.

The Ventnor Gardens have been established for 50 years and specialise in tender plants from the Mediterranean. They have just left the control of their local Council and an American curator with links to that island is now in charge.

Mike Nelhams, curator of the Tresco Abbey Gardens, is advising and will serve as a trustee.

Mike says Tresco is heavily involved in the new project and Scilly’s world-famous gardens should benefit.

He says they will get access to the plants grow in Ventnor, many of which are raised in the £1m grant-funded green house at that site. And Mike says this is part of the tradition of the great British gardens exchanging plants. He says they already have good relationships with other UK gardens with whom they exchange plants and everyone can benefit

There’s more new developments planned for the Abbey Gardens too.

Andrew Lawson travelled across Chile’s gardens last winter and brought back around 50 plant species. After planting them, the gardens’ team has decided to grow a Chilean area, which should develop over the next 5 years.

Mike Nelhams

Mike says Chilean plants may not be as familiar to visitors as the more usual New Zealand and South African plants, but says there are some South American plants around the islands and they want to develop the theme

His team will have to research and experiment with the plants as they know little about how they’ll take to conditions in Scilly and most aren’t grown as garden plants here in the UK.

Mike says, when fully grown, the Chilean garden should be distinctive and interesting for the very reason that most people won’t recognise the plants.

This week, the UK authority in Bamboo, Kew Garden curator Ray Townsend, has been at the Abbey Gardens.

He donated a ‘van-full’ of bamboo, which Mike picked up recently ahead of planting in the autumn.

Members of the Bamboo Society toured the gardens. Although hardy varieties from Japan are grown in Britain, Tresco’s mild climate means the estate can host the Mediterranean types.