Seeking out something special

NEWBY HALL is going on the dogwood trail. David Overend reports

Newby Hall Gardens, one of the North’s most stunning gardens, have won a prestigious grant – and it’s going to use it to help the public to understand gardens’ work to preserve and develop a nationally important plant collection.

Newby have been awarded a Brother Bursary, and Head Gardener Mark Jackson is using the money to produce a free booklet which will guide visitors through the diverse and beautiful group of Cornus (dogwoods), which are scattered throughout Newby’s 25 stunning acres.

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All over the British Isles, in gardens of all kinds, the Plant Heritage National Plant Collection scheme is documenting, preserving and developing the nation’s plants, so that future generations may understand their historical and cultural importance.

Newby Hall’s National Collection was started in 1990 by the late Robin Compton, though some specimens date back as far as the 1930s. (The oldest example is a fine Cornus kousa, planted by Robin Compton’s father).

Each of the Cornus shrubs or small trees is carefully labelled by Mark and his team, using the Brother labelling system.

The Brother Bursaries are awarded annually in conjunction with Plant Heritage, to initiatives with strong educational or public access focus; this year, nine gardens were chosen as winners.

Visitors to Newby Hall, which reopens to the public on April 1, will be able to pick up a “Cornus Trail” booklet at several points in the grounds, to enable them to identify the different Cornus (there are more than 100 individual specimens with 30 species represented by 76 different hybrids and forms) as they enjoy the wider garden.

• Visit www.newbyhall.com or to find out about the Brother Bursaries and Plant Heritage’s National Collection Scheme, visit www.nccpg.com