We have been extra busy bees at Compton Verney this last year, enriching a large area usually referred to as the west lawn. A large part of the lawn has been managed for wild flowers for a handful of years now, and although there were flushes of brilliance, the cowslips in particular giving a good show; the lawn was some way from becoming a wild flower meadow feature.
In 2014 however,an opportunity presented itself during planning for the 2015 summer exhibition titled ‘The Arts and Crafts House: Then and Now’. That opportunity was to move the exhibition outside in some way to embrace the garden element that was so important to the Arts and Crafts movement. Thanks to the involvement of Artfund, as part of the Art Happens initiative, and an inspired idea from Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medallist Dan Pearson, the west lawn became the focus of our efforts and the rest, as they say, is history!
The support for the project was strong and feedback from visitors who have seen its progress thus far has been really positive. It has been quite a journey I can tell you, but have we been successful? Can its success be judged on any particular day? Who knows. My view is that we have enriched an already beautiful area of the grounds with a dynamic and ecologically valuable feature that will continue to grow and develop during 2015 and beyond.
The following video is produced by myself plus a special video clip taken by Jan Gillett. I hope it goes some way to explaining the challenges faced with turning around the west lawn in such a short time-frame, and maybe it will even inspire someone to turn over some lawn to wild flowers for the bees and butterflies.
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Gary Webb. Head of Landscape & Gardens, Compton Verney.