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'LOST' JEKYLL/MAWSON GARDEN WITHIN AONB UNDERGOES RESTORATION
A GARDEN within the Cranborne Chase AONB that was once planted by the renowned Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) is undergoing an extensive programme of restoration.
Boveridge House, in Cranborne, now Aurora Boveridge College, which is run by the Aurora Group as a further education college for young people with special educational needs, boasts around 16 acres of 20th century formal gardens that were once designed by Thomas Mawson, the most celebrated landscape architect of the Edwardian era. The property’s then owner, Charles Gordon, commissioned Gertrude Jekyll, renowned horticulturalist and garden designer, to develop some planting plans and these were implemented in the 1920s.
Aurora Boveridge College has undergone significant redevelopment and recently appointed a new head gardener, Tim Bandy, a former horticulture teacher, to work with the college students to carry out the renovations and restore Gertrude’s planting areas to their former glory.
“There are a lot of different planting schemes here from the 1920s,” said Tim. “The idea is to initially do a lot of basic clearing as many of the areas have become overgrown and weeds have taken over. That will take a few months. I’m also in the process of trying to access Gertrude Jekyll’s original plans, some of which are at the University of California, to see if we can reinstate any plants that have been lost over the years.”
Tim envisages that the garden restoration, which will also include a large walled area, will be completed within two to three years, after which it is planned to open it to the public during college holidays.
“It’s incredibly exciting to be working on a garden created by such notable early 20th century designers,” he added. “Most of Gertrude Jekyll’s gardens are well known, but this one had been virtually lost. It is in very few books. It’s a great honour to be restoring it to how it once looked, but just as important is that our students are involved in this important work. They are really getting so much from the gardens already.”