The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is transforming the site where he had his family home for 19 years with help from one of the UK’s leading commercial nurseries in Hereford.
Wyevale Nurseries is supplying 4,500 plants to the independent charity to restore the Knot Garden, part of the historic Grade II listed Park and Garden surrounding the site of Shakespeare’s family home in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Wyevale Nurseries sales and marketing director Adam Dunnett said: “We are delighted to be playing our part in the creation of this major new heritage landmark, Shakespeare’s New Place, as a key part of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s legacy.
“We have worked closely with Christopher Cunningham, garden’s manager at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. We were particularly pleased with his selection of Euonymous japonica ‘Green Rocket’ for the Knot Garden instead of the traditional Buxus because of concerns over pest and disease associated with Buxus.
“Using Euonymous as a replacement is something we are keen to promote to our customers as it is not susceptible to the same problems common box is currently experiencing, but provides the same upright, compact growth, which is easily trimmed to shape. The Euonymous japonica ‘Green Rocket’ also grows fast and as Shakespeare’s New Place plans to open in July it also suited the time frame.”
The Knot Garden is the first part of the historic garden in the grounds of Shakespeare’s New Place to be restored to its former glory. It was set out nearly 100 years ago by Ernest Law, a leading exponent of the Tudor knot garden revival in the early 20th century, and this is its first major renovation in a century.
The new planting scheme is based on the original designs which in turn were based on those found in the Gardeners’ Labyrinth, the popular gardening book by Thomas Hill, which dates back to 1577.
The entire garden – the greatest surviving part of Shakespeare’s estate – is being transformed with architectural landscaping, full accessibility, specially commissioned artworks and new planting schemes.
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust garden’s manager Christopher Cunningham explained: “The re-presentation of Shakespeare’s New Place is enabling us to transform these gardens from a horticultural point of view, and Wyevale Nurseries has been instrumental in this transformation.
“The new contemporary garden on the footprint of the Shakespeare’s family home has increased planting space by nearly 30%. Walkways are softened by planting designed to be walked over, beds are bursting with colour and smell, and the stone we are using adds its own artistry and offsets our planting. By every measure this is a gardener’s dream, a magical town garden, which can transport visitors into the mind and imagination of Shakespeare.”
The project at New Place is a retelling, rather than a rebuilding, of Shakespeare’s personal home, which was demolished three centuries ago, and the plot has been conserved as a garden in honour of Shakespeare ever since.
The reopening of Shakespeare’s New Place in July 2016 will be a key highlight of the worldwide celebrations of the playwright’s 400 year legacy this year.