Boningale delivers more than 20,000 plants to Chris Burnett's Swiss Garden restoration

Shropshire-based Boningale Nurseries has won the tender to supply more than 20,000 plants and 8,400 bulbs to Hortech which is undertaking the restoration of The Swiss Garden in Bedfordshire.

Swiss Garden
Swiss Garden

The late Regency garden, created in the 1820s by Lord Ongley is regarded as an outstanding example of the Swiss picturesque style, and has been dubbed "a hidden gem".

The garden was refurbished in the 1870s by industrialist Joseph Shuttleworth but stood neglected for much of the 20th century. 

Now the garden, which is part of Old Warden Park, is undergoing major restoration. The work follows the Shuttleworth Collection in Biggleswade's successful bid for a  £2.8 million Heritage Lottery grant to help bring the garden's 13 listed buildings and ornamental structures back to their former glory.

The gardens closed in January this year and work is due to be completed ready for the garden to reopen to the public this summer.

Boningale account representative Steven Horne said it was interesting to be part of such a prestigious restoration project.

"The Swiss Garden project is yet another high profile scheme that we are delighted to have supplied," said Steven. "It was an unusual project, as the brief was to keep the pallet of plants historically true to the Regency period, which the designer Chris Burnett inspected first hand at the nursery. 

"Chris wanted to ensure the quality of the plants, and that they would have the desired effect and the immediate impact he was looking for."

Burnett, from Chris Burnett Associates said the key to the design was the balance between space and enclosure, light and shade and the many buildings and ornaments, as well as the foliage. 

In total 53 beds have been planted up using a mix of evergreens, a staple of the Swiss Garden, deciduous flowering shrubs, climbers, herbaceous plants and box balls. 

The planting scheme was inspired by two historic periods of planting which relate closely to the garden’s creation by Lord Robert Ongley in the 1820s and the later embellishments added in the 1870s by the new owner Joseph Shuttleworth. 

David Cox from Hortech said: "We had every confidence in placing this prestigious and historical contract with Boningale. The Swiss Garden restoration project was not the usual list of plants; plants popular in the Regency period have been superseded and are not commonly in production now. 

"Boningale, as usual, supplied high quality plant material and delivered on vehicles with Moffatts because of the site restrictions, which enabled us to finish the contract on time.  Their service and commitment to this project has been excellent."

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