Winson Manor, Gloucestershire
We began work in the gardens of this classic manor house in 2006, with a tree survey and remedial surgery of the key trees around the gardens and driveway.
The main drive to the house consisted of an avenue of semi-mature horse chestnuts, which had begun to show signs of bleeding canker, a bacterial disease now affecting almost half the chestnut trees in Great Britain. At this time, the disease was relatively scarce, and not much was known about how to treat or control it.
To try and retain this important feature, we conducted treatment trials with pathogen specialists, using raw and concentrated garlic injections into the vascular system of the tree. We monitored the trees over a 2-3 year period, but unfortunately saw no improvement in the canker. However, the garlic was effective with moth infestation (another problem affecting chestnut trees that is believed to weaken the trees immunity to the bleeding canker).
As the trees became increasingly disfigured and had numerous hazardous branches, it became apparent that the trees had very little longterm potential to support the house as an avenue.
We decided to replace them with silver lime, a fast-growing tree with a lovely golden colour in the autumn. To provide winter appeal, the limes were inter-planted with large topiary yew domes. The combination of trees has opened the avenue up to more light, and given it an impressive and more formal feel.
Continuing with this theme, we installed more topiary yew of varying forms, and a large 5-6m tall scots pine bonsai in the garden. The combination of intriguing and playful shapes provided an element of fantasy as well as formality to the garden.
Further work over the years has involved thinning out the overpopulated lower section of the driveway. Instead of felling, we transplanted some of the trees to outlying paddocks. We continue to carry out general pruning and tree surgery, orchard management and copse thinning for the manor and enjoy the client’s focus on the aesthetic detail of the garden.