Uppark House and Gardens
Speaker: Andy Lewis
Date: 29th February
Andy is Head Gardener at Uppark House which is a National Trust Property, Click here to visit the Uppark House and Gardens website
He showed us some stunning images of the House and Gardens at all times of the day, sunrise to sunset, and all seasons. He started with an image of a brave nesting duck which had laid her eggs at the door of the biomass store, Uppark uses only wood chippings in their boilers.
She would not be chased away even when a delivery of fuel arrived from West Dean and soon returned to keep her vigil!
The house at Uppark was burnt in 1989 and has been fully restored; the estate has also suffered from two storms. Humphrey Repton’s original garden design was also restored after the fire. The garden has lawns, scented and shady borders, cedars, a gothic summer house, a dairy, Andy’s favourite copper beech and marvellous views across the Solent.
We were treated to views of the garden, woodland walks, the famous Dolls House, and the echoing tunnels for children of all ages to enjoy. The way the House is connected to its landscape was well illustrated. Andy told us he was known for his robust pruning skills and his determination to open up more vistas in the overgrown stands of ancient trees and return more of the garden to its original plan in which semi circles are a feature. He is looking for plants of the Repton era to enhance the period feel of the gardens. Giant yellow scabious and verbena bonariensis will be used and Bells of Ireland.
He is keen to create habitats for creatures, glades for butterflies, and reconnect the gardens to the larger countryside. A tea garden is being constructed and spring bulbs are being planned. Events are organised throughout the year and Andy is enthusiastic about connecting more with the local schools and community.
In answer to questions Andy said he us assisted by two part-time gardeners and volunteers one or two days a week. To conserve water no planting takes place after April and plants are chosen to suit the environment.
His beautifully illustrated talk was enjoyed by us all.