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Historic rockery is taking shape at Peckover House in Wisbech

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Old maps and historical research have helped a team of gardeners to recreate a lost Victorian rockery at the National Trust’s Peckover House in Wisbech.

Even the most mature and beautiful gardens gradually evolve. In the case of the garden at Peckover House, however, much of the inspiration for its development comes from the past.

The Peckover family, who occupied the North Brink townhouse for around 150 years, created the garden which is still recognisable today.

The 'lost' rockery is taking shape this summer. (14120439)
The 'lost' rockery is taking shape this summer. (14120439)

It’s this Victorian planning which continues to lend its character to the much-loved garden, and the team at Peckover are keen to restore as much of the original layout as possible.

Old photographs and maps showed that the area, now known as the pool garden, was once laid out as a rockery. Further research showed that the ‘rock’ used was actually pieces of dressed stone collected by Lord Peckover.

The 'pool' garden last summer. (14120437)
The 'pool' garden last summer. (14120437)

Fortunately, much of the stone had been scattered around the garden and could easily be collected again.

“Using an 1887 Ordnance Survey map, we carefully laid out the rock garden in its old position and removed the turf,” said senior gardener Jenny Windsor. “The stones were then arranged to form a horseshoe shape, as in the original rockery. All of this meant a lot of heavy work for the team before we could move on to planting the area with alpines.”

The project, which started in the spring, is now complete and already this restored feature feels very much a part of the Victorian styled garden that surrounds it.

Work continues in the garden and the team are on the look-out for more volunteers to help them with keeping this enchanting garden looking its best.

Jenny went on to say: “If anyone who enjoys gardening could spare a few voluntary hours a week, we would be very happy to hear from them.”

Anyone interested in volunteering in the garden is invited to contact Peckover House on 01945 583463 for more details.

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