Tintinhull Garden reopens and looks forward to a more sustainable future

08 Apr 2024

Ahead of spring reopening, at the end of March, the National Trust team at Tintinhull Garden, in Somerset, have taken some small but important steps towards making the property’s future more sustainable, including taking the garden off mains water supply. 

With the growing trend for longer, hotter, and significantly dryer summers an automated watering system was introduced in part of the garden in 2023. It used rainwater from harvesting tanks to irrigate the Kitchen Garden in the summer months. It was a great success, keeping the ground moist and the plants green during times when there was little rain.  

Building on that success, another two large water tanks were installed this winter, meaning the whole site was taken off mains water for irrigation purposes. This step means that the environmental impact of the garden is significantly reduced, but an additional bonus for staff and volunteers is the time taken to water the garden has lessened— from sixteen hours per week to zero. 

Changes to the way the iconic pond in the Pool Garden is maintained also has benefits for the garden. The shallowness of the pool means it heats up quickly in the summer, depleting the oxygen for plants and animals, and causing problems with algae and weeds. However, the pond’s capacity is roughly 75,000 litres, more than any traditional pond pump can manage.  

Instead, a pressure filter has been installed. Visually it does not detract from the tranquil beauty of the pond, as it can be hidden away from visitors, but it also creates liquid fertiliser as a byproduct. This fertiliser can then be introduced into the automated watering system to give the plants in the garden a completely natural boost. As the pond was created to be a reflecting pool with clear water, and to help plants and wildlife flourish, this new system will create a much more relaxing and peaceful space for visitors to enjoy.   

Alex Newman, Senior Gardener, said: ‘The team here don’t stop over the winter whilst the garden is closed. We have been busy like the proverbial bees, pruning, mulching, and carrying out a lot of maintenance. We’re also very pleased to have taken steps towards being better prepared for the challenges of climate change. Coming off mains water for irrigation purposes is a great achievement in that, and it ties in with other work going on – for example, the newly installed solar panels producing all our power requirements for the garden machinery.’ 

He continued, ‘These developments are all happening with of goal of making sure this charming garden flourishes for years to come – a respite for wildlife and an oasis for visitors who we were so pleased to have welcomed back over the Easter weekend.’ 

Other changes that people may notice when visiting include the replanting of the purple and gold border in Cedar Court to make it more historically accurate, ensure it has year-round colour, and greater resilience to extreme weather conditions. Lobelia ‘Hadspen Purple’ has been introduced to the border, which is a nod to Penelope Hobhouse who lived at Tintinhull Garden, along with Rosa ‘Twice in a Blue Moon’ which has large, perfumed flowers. 

Visitors will also see a forest of newly erected bamboo supports in the Kitchen Garden, ready for the beans, peas and sweet peas that will be planted later in the spring. The alliums and spring bulbs will be looking colourful, whilst the blossoms will be coming through in the arboretum and orchards.  

Tintinhull Garden is now open daily till 29 September 2024. For opening times and more information, please visit Tintinhull Garden | Somerset | National Trust 

Tintinhull Garden reopens and looks forward to a more sustainable future
Open Map
Close Map