A Seasonal Affair

In March’s ‘The Opportunist’ we unveiled plans for the development of a new Winter Garden focused around ten West Himalayan birch trees planted in the spring of this year. Following a successful summer in the ground those trees have now begun to establish, and the autumn which followed presented yet another window in which to … More A Seasonal Affair


All good gardens impart narrative; that is, they exist in conversation with the surrounding landscape, evoke memories of the past and give meaning to the future. Good gardens tell the story of their makers. Yet over time, that story often becomes not a permanent account of a fixed moment in time, but a fluid exchange … More Metamorphoses

Blowing Hot and Cold

In 1944 Winterbourne’s third and final private owner, John Nicolson, bequeathed the house and garden to the University of Birmingham. Responsibility for the garden was assumed by the Department of Botany who quickly renamed the grounds as the ‘Winterbourne Research Gardens’ supplementing the already established plant collection with new species intended for use by students … More Blowing Hot and Cold

The Opportunist

Birches have an extremely long history in the Northern Hemisphere. Amongst the first plants to re-colonise Britain at the end of the ice-age, even Otzi, the 5,000 year old ‘Iceman’ of the Alps, was preserved carrying two containers made of Birch bark. This long lineage is due in part to their eagerness to colonise. Birches … More The Opportunist

From Pillar to Post

“It seems wonderfully dark at first… but on going into it… one finds that it is a pleasant subdued light.” Gertrude Jekyll, Wood and Garden, 1899 Pergolas come in many different shapes and sizes. The pergola at Winterbourne, for example, is over 35 metres long. In its most basic form a pergola is always a … More From Pillar to Post