Horticulture Week Podcast: harnessing biodiversity at Trentham Gardens with Carol Adams

Having grown up exploring the Scottish countryside, Carol Adams’ interest in forestry grew into a horticulture qualification. Around eight years ago, this brought her to Trentham, a 725 acres estate in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire.

With influence from Capability Brown, the gardens have seen many evolutions over the years, most recently, the likes of Tom Stuart-Smith, Piet Oudolf, and Nigel Dunnett who have created a sustainable and contemporary planting scheme, with sometimes accidental biodiverse benefits.

[They] “hadn’t originally intended to create the biodiversity and the ecosystem service that we have but it transpires that it has achieved that and the way that has changed the way we look at the estate and how visitors interact the estate. It's not purely about us being a beautiful contemporary garden [...] it's become more than that", Adams explains.

The River Trent corridor gives the garden both benefits and challenges; it allows otters to establish, but also Japanese Knotweed. But ultimately, creating the biodiversity at Trentham has been a collaborative effort, and Carol has been working with local groups and organisations as well as students to help identify species.

One such species is the water vole, which the garden recently introduced. “There weren’t water voles regionally to repopulate at Trentham. [...] it wasn’t going to naturally happen. It needed an intervention, so we committed a business spend and we had to look at it as a business case. Why would we reintroduce water voles to Trentham? What were the pros and cons?”

Adams also gives advice about where to start when rewilding a garden or even a cityscape.

Presenter: HortWeek senior reporter Rachael Forsyth
Producer: HortWeek digital content manager Christina Taylor

Make sure you never miss a Horticulture Week podcast! Subscribe to or Follow Horticulture Week podcasts via Apple PodcastsSpotify or Google Podcasts or your preferred podcast platform. 

If you are interested in producing a podcast with HortWeek, contact hortweek@haymarket.com.


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