Country garden feel for Wimbledon

Wimbledon tennis to bloom as head gardener Martyn Falconer broadens his grower supply base.

Falconer: English Garden look
Falconer: English Garden look

Wimbledon tennis head gardener Martyn Falconer says he wants to broaden his grower supply base after the All England Lawn Tennis Club took the south west London site's horticulture in-house.

Falconer, who worked for previous contractors Roger Denny and Natural Green since 1999, became the first in-house head gardener at the club in 2013. A plan from landscape architects Grant Associates aims to make Wimbledon have a 'Tennis in an English Country Garden' feel.

Falconer said: "Because of the masterplan we're looking at contract grown to get plants at a more mature stage than just walking into a nursery and grabbing some stuff. That's what we will look at after the championships, getting relationships with other nurseries and getting more competitive prices."

There are six full-time gardeners, with six more seasonally, looking after the famous Wimbledon ivy Parthenocissus tricuspidata Veitchii and hydrangeas.

Falconer said: "After the initial coming to watch the tennis the next thing that people talk about is the floral displays. We always get good comments from people saying the flowers look great. We're known for hydrangeas and hanging baskets and all the bedding-after the tennis it's the next thing on people's lips. The creeper is the most iconic."

Falconer says: "We probably got away from that ('Tennis in an English Country Garden') look a little bit but we're 95 per cent back now with lots of herbaceous perennials to try and get that English garden look but also keep within the tradition with hydrangeas and petunias."

Wimbledon - Return of the hydrangea

New hydrangeas include 'Magical Amethyst' from Golden Hill Plants in Kent. Hosepipe bans in 2012 led to the plant being dropped at Wimbledon but there are now more than 1,000 being used again.

Falconer also used Evergreen Exterior Nurseries in Banstead in Surrey, Koburg in Holland and Barnes Nurseries in Banstead for hanging baskets.

He also buys 12,000 plants each year.

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