How green does your garden grow?

Filming to support NT’s green gardens manual, which aims to boost standards while reducing our environmental footprint, began last week in the stunning setting of PowisCastle.

Trust Water Advisor Deanna Fernance with filmmakers Liam and Frank at sunny Powis Castle gardens

Trust Water Advisor Deanna Fernance with filmmakers Liam and Frank at sunny Powis Castle gardens

The video is showcasing some of the best sustainable garden management developments in the National Trust. It will be released in September with the aim of inspiring property staff to up their game and go for gold, silver or bronze standards by employing more eco-friendly and efficient practices.

Featuring in the film will be the impressive gardens at PowisCastle, Nymans and Cliveden. And playing starring roles will be the talented staff, who have worked passionately to make these gardens developing exemplars for other properties to glean ideas from.

Mike Calnan, who is Head of Gardens and leading the project, said: “When you think about it we’ve got 200 gardens and we mow something like 30 square miles of lawn – that’s 500 tonnes of CO2 we’re omitting, just in mowing lawns. We are addressing those big, big questions in terms of the sustainability of our operations with the Environmental Standards for Gardens and Parks manual which sets out what properties can achieve.”

He added that he believed the Trust should be leading the way in making landscapes more fit for the future and hoped the video would also engage and inspire the wider public into having a go on a smaller scale at home.

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While the bronze standard would be an acceptable standard for many gardens, Mike said that gold was an aspirational target for larger gardens and parks.

To achieve the coveted gold standard, properties would have a plethora of environmentally friendly systems in place, such as large scale water harvesting storage systems along with renewable technology to generate their own energy, for example in using solar PV to recharge electric machinery.

PowisCastle has embraced the power of nature with more green energy schemes than you could shake a stick at. Projects include a 27kw ground-source heat pump which provides 90% of the nursery’s heating needs, five air source heat pumps to help power the site, including the gardeners mess room and nearby Lady Violet tea room, capillary matting to feed thirsty plants economically from a borehole, a compost system with a reedbed to clean the leachate, and two solar photovoltaic systems which generate enough electricity to power the nursery and sell any excess to the Trust’s energy partner Good Energy.

National Trust gardener Ben Thomas explains how capillary matting is saving water in the nursery

National Trust gardener Ben Thomas explains how capillary matting is saving water in the nursery

The result is that the nursery is energy neutral and making huge savings on energy bills, which means more money can be spent on the good stuff – conservation and displays.

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