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Aberglasney changes

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Aberglasney changes

1 November 2010

The horticulturist credited with creating one of the most beautiful garden restoration projects in the UK, has moved onto pastures new.

Graham Rankin, director of operations at Aberglasney Gardens in Carmarthenshire, has taken up a new challenge to create a magical garden on a private estate in Surrey.

Under the direction of Mr Rankin and his wife Frances, the garden at Aberglasney has blossomed and grown from a crumbling shell buried under centuries of neglect, into a self-financing attraction that draws visitors from all over the world.

Among the garden’s many historical gems is an immaculate Elizabethan/Jacobean Cloister and parapet walk, unique in the UK. New gardens have been created in unusual places in Aberglasney – in a dark overgrown wood and even in the centuries-old house itself.

In 2006 Mr Rankin created the unique award-winning Ninfarium, a semi-tropical garden created in the ruins of the old Mansion and filled with a wonderful collection of warm temperate plants, including orchids, palms, magnolias and cycads.

“Aberglasney has been my life for nearly 12 years and I loved every minute,” said Mr Rankin, who is author of several horticultural books and has lectured extensively throughout the UK and abroad. “I used to tell people that I lived in the garden and I sometimes went home.

“It was difficult to leave but the planting is almost complete and there is very little prospect of any major grand designs, which is the part I most enjoy. The focus now is more towards renovating the Mansion. Work should start soon on the house and could be complete by the end of 2011.”

Mr Rankin wrote The Flowering of Aberglasney to mark the 10th anniversary of the garden’s official opening.

At the time of going to press, the Aberglasney Restoration Trust had yet to announce a replacement for Mr Rankin.

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