Since 1983 the nursery has been supplying specimen container grown hedging plants to the World Heritage site to replace its ‘bosquet’ hedges which have become overgrown causing them to lose their formal appearance.
The work is part of a massive programme of works that has been taking place at the Studley Royal water garden.
Influenced by late 17th century French fashion for formality the garden makers at Studley Royal used bosquets throughout the water garden using English yew as their favoured hedging plant.
The current overgrown, and in some places dying yew ‘bosquet’ hedge which is just over 800 metres in length, will be removed from the garden in autumn/winter 2018 and replaced with specially selected 125cm specimen container plants, which will be planted in the garden in 2019.
The specimen container plants, which were planted in October 2016, are growing and being nurtured at Johnsons’ Newlands nursery, and have already started to take shape. At the end of April the plants were shaped and another trim will be undertaken later this year.
If required, stock may be transferred into air pots to stimulate root development and returned to Johnsons’ Thornville site.
Group director Graham Richardson from Johnsons of Whixley, said: "We’re delighted to be working again at Studley Royal & Fountains Abbey, and are excited to be helping to restore such a beautiful garden which has so much of Yorkshire’s history behind it.
"We have a long history of working closely with the National Trust and a proven track record of delivering to a precise specification that produces an effective result.
"Growing large hedges is a genuine horticultural challenge where attention to detail is critical throughout the process."
Head of Landscape at Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, Michael Ridsdale, said: "The yew bosquet is a key feature of the landscape here in the water garden. We’re pleased to be working with Johnsons of Whixley to grow new yew trees specifically for the project we have in mind, it means we can grow them to an appropriate size off-site before planting, which significantly reduces the impact of the work on the landscape."
The first phase of work in the water garden started in 1985, working to restore the Moon Ponds and Grand Canal. After working in other areas of the site the Trust has returned to the central water garden area to reinstate some of the detailing which has been lost to the passages of time.
Following 18th century precedent seen in paintings from that era and visitor accounts, the Trust has just repainted its suite of lead statues; it will also be re-instating large planters, commissioning new seating for the temples and carving out shell-shaped gravel scalloping in the lawns.