About the garden
This family-owned garden and model village opened to the public in 1952. The planting has evolved from mixed summer bedding and perennials to a collection of 3,000 conifers. Packed in are coarse bonsai-treated trees that offer year-round interest and structure. The purpose of building the collection was to give context and create an impressive backdrop to the one tenth scale model buildings. Now the trees and garden are an attraction in their own right.
As with the Japanese tradition, the owners have concentrated on using a chosen range of trees, sculpting them individually, for maximum effect, to create the right atmosphere to offset the models. The majority of the stock comes from Swanborough Conifers in Wiltshire. The emphasis is to take very small specimens and bring them to life within the model village. The gardener, Fred Green, will carefully select a prime spot for each new tree and will plant, prune and shape them as they grow. Quite often the ‘model of the model village’ area is used as the prime spot for planting new arrivals. The size of the trees and their respective position to the models is constantly reviewed so that the look and feel of the garden evolves.
An annual move of around up to 300 trees ensures the scale, colour, perspective and garden interest is retained. The number of trees moved will depend on which areas of the garden are needing to be re-landscaped for each year. The gardens offer the opportunity to see how it is possible to maintain a wide variety of conifers at this small scale. With the decreasing size of the average family garden, this provides inspiration for keen gardeners to use this versatile tree type to provide colour all year round and interest at home.