2018 saw the planting of the first phase of our plan for Paxton’s extraordinary Rockery of 1842, set in the heart of this magnificent landscape. Built both as a reminder of the 6th Duke’s visit to the Alps and of the Bolton Strid, a narrow chasm on the River Wharfe near Bolton Abbey, the Devonshire family home in Yorkshire.
The Rockery is being transformed over the next 4 years, 2018-2022. The first phase of this can be seen on the south side of the Strid. Additional phases will follow annually with construction of new paths and rock work over the winter season and planting in the spring.
We are also beginning work on an 18 acre area of woodland known as Arcadia, south of the cascade and adjacent to the Trout Stream, an area currently being developed using the plans of Dan Pearson. We have been working in 2017 and 2018 to clear glades through the overgrown woodland, revealing views across the garden to the Brownian landscape beyond. A new network of paths will open up Arcadia, allowing visitors to explore the area for the first time.
2019 will see an ambitious amount of planting in Arcadia, starting at the northern end. A large damp bog garden will be planted with large leaved damp loving plants. This will be continued south along the new path to a smaller glade where the artist Laura Ellen Bacon is building a large stone sculpture, a new contribution to the landscape. The biggest glade which runs up from the maze will be planted in huge swathes as a perennial meadow. Autumn 2019 will also see the seeding of the smallest and most southern glade with an exotic collection of perennials chosen and trailed by James Hitchmough.
The site of Paxton’s Great Conservatory, completed in 1840 has been the location for The Maze since 1962 within the stone walls that once supported this extraordinary building. Either side of the Maze within the remaining walls are flower beds which historically have been planted with seasonal displays and although magnificent at their best, leave a gap for visitors at other times of the year. In 2019 we will plant one side of The Maze garden. The beds will be subdivided, and planting will be designed to have structure relating to the stone walls and large Taxus baccata hedges of The Maze.