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Glorious gardens set in historic landscapes. Glorious gardens set in historic landscapes.
Due to poor weather, RHS Glow is cancelled on Saturday 9 December, to ensure the safety of all. The Garden Centre and Bridgewater Cafe will also be closed. Customers with booked tickets are invited to join us on Tuesday 12 December at the same time, using original booking, or please contact us. For further info please see our social media posts. The garden will also be partially closed on Saturday 9 December - the Walled Garden, Welcome Garden and the Bridgewater café and Garden Centre will be open as usual.
Find out how the development of our fifth garden progressed during the autumn months
The bat roosts that were found in the north wall of our walled garden were summer roosts not winter roosts, so work was allowed to continue without disturbing the bats this autumn. Putting up bat boxes in other areas of the walled garden gives alternative roost options for bats – part of our commitment to encourage biodiversity and wildlife across the garden.
“We have three key species of bat at RHS Garden Bridgewater – Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle and Brown Long Eared Bat. An endoscope (a camera on the end of a long tube) can be put into cracks and crevices in the walls of the walled garden to establish where they've been roosting as we continue the restoration of the walls.” John Crowder, Ecologist.
"We’ve been able to salvage and reuse 80% of the original bricks of the walled garden. Finding new bricks that match the colour, length and height of the originals has been tricky. The standard modern brick size is 63mm, RHS Garden Bridgewater bricks are 68mm! But we found a supplier in Belgium.” Mike Dowling, Site Foreman, Maysand.
The RHS Garden Bridgewater Outreach team planted bulbs with residents and Pendleton Together at Holm Court. Tulips, daffodils and crocuses were dropped into lawned areas and pots prepared for bursts of spring colour. This is part of an ongoing project to work with residents to create a community gardening group and help them develop their green space.
Our delightful rare breed Berkshire pigs at Bridgewater might be cute, but they’ve been brought in to do a serious job; turning over the soil in what will be our new orchard, in an environmentally friendly way.
"We’re looking at several options for filling the lake; natural rainfall or pumping water from other sources. In a wet year, calculations suggest the lake could fill naturally in 11 months. In average conditions it would take 23 months. In a dry year, the lake would only fill by about 15cm.” Laura Birkin, Project Engineer.
Now we’ve completed the de-silt of the lake, we’ve started digging out the remaining silt around the banks that the diggers couldn’t reach, repairing the historic walls and planning the soft and hard landscaping.
Before we could start de-silting the lake, ecologist Lizi Pimlott came on site to look for any last remaining amphibians. She found one adult common frog and two young common frogs, including this beautiful creature, which joined others in our wildlife pond.
Cold War bunker on site: Built in 1951 by the War Office in response to the Cold War, this monolithic concrete anti-aircraft defence bunker sits embedded in the landscape at the top of the RHS Garden Bridgewater site. Obsolete by 1958, it has since been used by the Fire Service, a gun club and for the odd rave!
Get a real sense of the progress that's been made so far by the team and our local community to develop the site into a garden that will inspire future generations.
"Removing silt from the lake was in itself is a fairly standard engineering project. What made this so exciting was the emergence of all the history, the culverts and old walls, plus the prospect of what is to come for the new landscape design." Laura Birkin, Project Engineer.
We started de-silting the historic four-acre lake, removing 100 years of leaves and debris to continue the process of restoring it to create a beautiful space for both wildlife and visitors.
Bridgewater fountains: Fed by the Blackleach reservoir, fountains played a key part in William Nesfield’s design of the terraces at Worsley New Hall. The fountains are gone but excavations by the University of Salford's Archaeology department in 2012 revealed some of the original foundations.
RHS Garden Bridgewater is delighted to have helped Veterans' Garage create a garden from scratch at their base at Barton Aerodrome. Set up by a group of ex-Service family members, the Veterans' Garage is a unique, modern and forward-thinking social hub for veterans and the community, created to alleviate social isolation and promote social inclusion for all ages in a fun environment.
Formal terraces: Soldier, artist and celebrated landscape designer, William Nesfield developed the formal terraces at Worsley New Hall. The top two terraces were designed in his trademark ‘parterre de broderie’ style, intricate patterns based on 17th-century French embroidery designs.
Salford Women's Centre wanted colour, scent and plants that would attract wildlife. Involving all age groups, RHS Garden Bridgewater worked with the community to sow seeds and plant up re-cycled oil drums – transforming the space outside the centre for all to enjoy.
We celebrated our first year of volunteering at RHS Garden Bridgewater and thanked our volunteers for the incredible contribution they've made with an exclusive preview of our exhibition about the development of the garden, tours of the wider site and cake! Thanks everyone - we literally couldn’t create this garden without your help.
The 160 year old mystery pears are the fruit of the last standing historic pear tree at RHS Garden Bridgewater. They were sent to RHS Horticultural Specialist Jim Arbury, who has begun the detailed process of identifying them.
"As work on the Kitchen Garden has progressed, excavation has revealed the historic footprint of the Victorian pathways, which were laid down using sandstone in the 19th century." Marcus Chilton-Jones, Curator.
Worsley New Hall: Built in 1840-45 for the 1st Earl of Ellesmere at the north east end of the site, Worsley New Hall commanded a stunning view over the Cheshire plains. The house stood for just over 100 years. Designed by Edward Blore, the man who finished Buckingham Palace, it was built for just under £100,000, around £6.7 million today. It was demolished and sold in the late 1940s for £2,500 with only its footprint now remaining.
Katie and Richard measured the walls of the Kitchen Garden to establish how much wire we’ll need to grow heritage pears and dessert apples, such as Hacon’s Incomparable and Lancashire Scotch Bridget, against them.
"For a long time you had to take the fact that this is an 11 acre walled garden on trust because it seemed very big, but you couldn’t actually see it because it was so overgrown. But now you can see it – and its pretty extraordinary." Tom Stuart-Smith, landscape architect for RHS Garden Bridgewater.
The engine house: Built in the early 1840’s the ‘engine house’ with its striking chimney stack was designed to accommodate the Rochester boiler for heating the walled garden and adjacent glasshouses.
The north wall of the Walled Garden was constructed with a central flue to create a hot wall. The flue sat between a 9 inch thick wall and a 4.5 inch brick skin, which conducted heat through the face of the wall to the fruit trees and glass houses.
What a brilliant Salford Big Day Out. From floral crowns, floral displays, winning bakes and take home kokedama, we really enjoyed meeting local people, sharing our plans for RHS Garden Bridgewater and getting their ideas and input.
RHS Garden Bridgewater hosted a group of local young people from the Salford Foundation doing their National Citizen Service programme. They spent an afternoon learning basic pointing skills with Mike Dowling, Site Foreman, Maysand Ltd.
Earlier in the year we dug 24 enormous holes to assess how quickly water drains away on different parts of the site. The middle section of the RHS Garden Bridgewater site is formed of clay, deposited by a glacier pushing through the area during the last Ice Age.
The northern third of the RHS Garden Bridgewater site is composed of Worsley Delph Rock, a sandstone up to 20 metres thick in places. We’ve salvaged sandstone from the site to use in the creation of the Chinese Streamside Garden.
The geology of the RHS Garden Bridgewater site dates back to 300 million year old coal deposits. North West England was covered in swamps dominated by giant club mosses the size of trees called Lepidodendron. Fossil plants from RHS Garden Bridgewater were found in the 1800s and are now at Manchester Museum.
Before opening in 2020, we’ll have moved a monumental 35,000 cubic metres of soil, sub-soil and spoil around the RHS Garden Bridgewater site, re-purposing it back into the landscape. To limit environmental impact, none of it will be transported off site.
Heavy plant machinery is back in the Walled Garden. The Victorian practice of using arsenic as a weed killer meant we had to dig out and remove contaminated soil in what will be the Harris Bugg Studio Kitchen Garden.
The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.