Gardening: Cuttings

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The Independent Culture
THE ALPINE Garden Society is holding a summer show today (12pm- 4.30pm) at Merrist Wood College, Worplesdon, Guildford, Surrey. Campanulas, daphnes, saxifrages and sedums (pictured) have now replaced the primulas and dwarf bulbs of earlier alpine shows.

Dwarf conifers, unfortunately, are still in evidence.

THE NATIONAL Trust has been granted permanent planning permission to open its fine 18th-century garden, Prior Park, Bath, to the public. Two- and-a-half years ago, the Trust was given temporary permission to open the garden while it tested a new, "green" approach to visiting. Deliberately, no car park is provided at the property, but this has not deterred the 50,000 visitors who have made their way to Prior Park since it was acquired by the Trust. Most come by bus or on foot. Now that the future of the garden is assured, Matthew Ward, the gardener in charge, can press on with the next phase of the restoration programme.

A mid-18th-century engraving shows the house, built for Ralph Allen in 1735, with only a small lawn and a kitchen garden to one side of the building. On the other side, a plantation of trees screens the narrow-gauge railway made to carry fine Bath stone away from a local quarry.

But by the end of the 18th century, this modest establishment had been transformed. A fine Palladian bridge, similar to the one at Stowe, was built to span a lake, enlarged from the original stew pond. Clumps of trees were planted to enhance the increasingly Arcadian view.

Prior Park is open daily (except Tuesday) from 12-5.30, Admission pounds 3.80. Bath Spa station is a mile away. For further information on buses and trains, call 01225 833422