New head gardener digs in on revamp at Newby Hall beds

Famous floral landmark Newby Hall has a new head gardener who has set his sights on revamping less visited parts of the historic gardens.

By Janet Harrison
Monday, 9th May 2022, 4:13 pm
New head gardener for Newby Hall, near Ripon. Picture: Charlotte Graham
New head gardener for Newby Hall, near Ripon. Picture: Charlotte Graham

A former Chartered Institute of Horticulture Young Horticulturist of the Year, Lawrence Wright has joined from Cornwall’s Tregothnan Estate and is now in charge of Newby’s 40 acres of gardens and woodland – including its flagship double herbaceous border.

Lawrence said: “Newby Hall is a fabulous garden rich in horticultural history.

“It is with great excitement that we push forward with our once-in-a-lifetime rock garden restoration and the continued development of this already fantastic garden.

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“The work that we are undertaking now will be the legacy for the next 100 years.”

On his new ‘to do’ list is a five-year project to replace the overgrown internal garden shelterbelts at Newby that provide protection from the brutal westerly winds that gust from the neighbouring Yorkshire Dales.

Most of these were planted by the late garden owner and renowned plantsman Major Edward Compton nearly 100 years ago but need replacing so future generations can continue to enjoy the garden at its best.

Lawrence will be planting unusual shrubs, canopy trees and interesting groundcover to add to the garden’s rare collections and to provide a horticultural ‘wow’ for visitors.

He will also continue the restoration of Newby’s Edwardian rock garden focusing on the section closest to the River Ure with planting that can survive regular flooding.

Newby’s much-loved gardens are visited by over a 100,000 people every year and often feature on film and TV.

Taking centre stage is the 172-metre-long double border, celebrated for being the longest in a private garden in the UK, and Lawrence is now in charge of looking after its 6,500 plants, as well as those in 14 other stunning garden ‘rooms’, two heritage orchards and 30 acres of woodland.

A star of productions such as Peaky Blinders and the ABC Murders, Newby Hall is again hosting the three-day Harrogate Autumn Flower Show September 16-18.