National Plant Collection

Staff, students and volunteers at Bridgwater College have been busy developing the Walled Gardens of Cannington in the hope of achieving the status of having a National Plant Collection.

A new garden has been created to showcase Monarda, Santolina and Deschampsia plants, and this project involved clearing, rotivating and preparing the ground over the winter, prior to turfing and planting. The garden has been designed to provide year round interest with stepping stones inter-planted with thyme, chamomile and Corsican mint, which release their scent when trodden on. The beds have also been designed to encourage children to explore off the main path.

Plant Heritage, who recognises the Collection, is a self-funding charity which aims to protect and preserve botanical legacy through the National Plant Collection Scheme.

Jayne Alcock, Grounds and Gardens Supervisor said, "Whilst the conservation and accurate cataloguing of the three species that we have chosen (Santolina, Monarda and Deschampsia) are central to the development of this garden, we were also keen to ensure that the collections were displayed to students and visitors in a way which is aesthetically pleasing.

"We have used a modern style of planting in natural groupings, rather than a linear, purely botanical display. The plants can all be found in one part of the garden, making it easy to see the differences between each one. We believe this represents a novel way of displaying a collection."

The garden is to be extended in 2014 to allow room for further planting of these fascinating plants.