The last couple of months have seen the most profound change to the Botanical Gardens since Maria Homeyard’s time. The removal of self-seeded trees in the Horse Lane area has opened up wonderful river views again and created the opportunity for mitigating planting.
Twenty-eight good sized trees have been planted by the Teignbridge team … Liquidambar, Henry’s Lime, Turkish Hazel, Persian Ironwood, Wild Service Tree, White Mulberry and the deliciously fruiting Serviceberry … a glorious collection of beautiful trees for all seasons. A team of village volunteers braved the gloopy, muddy slopes to plant 700 under-storey shrubs in drifts which will bring colour and fragrance to a new pathway which will meander through the trees. Getting muddy too was a team from Shaldon School helping to plant out woodland bulbs, foxgloves, primroses, ferns and wild garlic. Small log-piles have been deliberately left for mini-beasts to live in and children to study. The scheme has been designed not only for the benefit of villagers and visitors but also to provide an enhanced habitat for animals, insects and birds and it is hoped to attract a greater variety than before.
The Friends now plan to seek funding for a programme of labelling for all the specimen trees, old and new, and they continue their pursuit of Heritage Lottery Funding for the major building work needed in the area of the Castle. With renewed buildings and improved planting the gardens will more closely resemble Maria’s original vision, and after a few seasons of growth the new planting will reward us all with billowing blossom, delicious fruit and spectacular autumn colour … a true botanic garden.