Lessons from Westbury Water Gardens

On July 4th, 2018 the Club went for an evening’s visit to Westbury Water Gardens. It’s the first ever garden that the National Trust acquired in its own right.

The unique Dutch water gardens have been restored close to the late 17th century design, with 3 long rectangular ponds filled with huge carp, artificial islands, original stonework, two sweet pavilions, a formal parterre garden, a glorious walled area full of period roses, clematis and perennials, and the tallest tulip tree you’ve ever seen.

Guided by the head gardener, we learnt a lot:

  1. The rhubarb of the day was grown for the large root which was ground up and used as a laxative snuff
  2. Potatoes were used initially for animal fodder
  3. White raspberries produce yellow fruits which birds don’t recognise as ripe
  4. The Dutch style of planting was not a massed border of colour, but individual different plants spaced out for your appreciation
  5. Only eat medlars when they are rotten. But avoid them even then – they taste awful.
  6. Brick walls at that time were the “must have” material of choice
  7. Stone pineapples are a sign of wealth, happiness and good fortune.

Words by Cherry Foster

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