National award for Professor Dunnett’s woodland restoration

Burke's Wood

Professor Nigel Dunnett has been honoured for his woodland restoration at the Trentham Estate in Staffordshire, which has won the award for ‘Best Gardens or Arboretum Initiative’ at the prestigious Horticulture Week Custodian Awards.

Held this year at Woburn Abbey House and Gardens, on Wednesday 27 June, the awards once again celebrated the very best of amenity horticulture.

Professor Dunnett has worked with the iconic Staffordshire estate to create an innovative new woodland garden in Burke’s Wood, including an extensive new lakeside perennial meadow. The award judges praised the “bold immersive schemes with dramatic use of colour, texture and form.”

Nigel said: “working with the Trentham team has been an exhilarating and wonderful experience – I’m so impressed with their ‘can-do’ attitude and willingness to go the extra mile. As well as the 70,000 new perennials, Burke’s Wood also includes more than 700 new magnolia trees planted in stunning groves of 10-50 of just one variety – it’s an example of the bold scale of planting and the far-reaching scope of the vision that is going to make Trentham the go-to place for forward-looking innovations in garden making.”

The Burke’s Wood restoration is the first in a series of projects that will create the UK’s longest sequence of contemporary perennial plantings, designed meadows and naturalistic gardens.

annual meadow perennial meadow

Michael Walker, Trentham’s Head of Garden and Estate, commented: “the award for Burke’s Wood recognises the incredible contribution that Nigel Dunnett has made to further expand Trentham’s contemporary perennial schemes. Nigel’s work adds to the now iconic plantings designed by Tom Stuart-Smith and Piet Oudolf elsewhere in the garden, and when complete, will provide a unique cross-section of 21st Century perennial plantings in a continuous sequence, creating an experience unrivalled in the UK.”

Trentham Gardens re-opened its gates to the public 14 years ago when the 725-acre estate was rescued from a state of disrepair. Last year the Gardens, at the heart of the Estate, attracted just over 725,000 visits - making them one of the most visited garden attractions in the whole of the UK.

The Estate also scooped the award for ‘Best Gardens or Arboretum Team’ in recognition of the work done by its 22-strong team of in-house gardeners.

Nigel added: “It has been a privilege to undertake planting design work at Trentham over the past four years. My work is sited alongside that of Piet Oudolf and Tom Stuart Smith, and these three side-by-side examples showcase a complete range of different approaches within what is termed ’new perennial planting’ or the ’new naturalism’.”

“Trentham has been used regularly as a site for both teaching and research by the Department of Landscape, and the ongoing work has allowed me to develop, try out and test different ideas.”

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