It has been just over a year since I began working at Bishop Burton College.  In gardening terms, a year is quite a short time as the seasons come and go so quickly.  However, over the past year the College campus has been transformed.  The new-look campus has a brand new state-of -the-art Learning Resource Centre and wonderful Equine Indoor Arena, with some of the best facilities in the country.  We also have a new 3G synthetic sports pitch and new en-suite student accommodation.  It’s a very exciting time for the college and I’m really pleased to be part of the new development.


It was a pleasure working with Chris Robinson.  His guidance and advice has been a great help to me and I’m sure will continue to be for many years to come.  I was particularly interested in  hearing from Chris about the  history of the college, the Walled Garden and Bishop Burton Village.


Although I was born and bred in East Yorkshire. I went to Capel Manor College in Enfield and worked in several large gardens in London.  These included Regent’s College and Winfield house, which is the second largest private garden in London after Buckingham Palace.


I also worked in Lincoln’s Inn, one of the four Inns of Court - the others being Inner Temple, Middle Temple and Gray’s Inn.  Formal records at Lincoln’s Inn go back continuously to 1422, although there is evidence that the Inn had been in existence for some time before this date and it probably first took shape early in the 14th century.


The Inn’s gardens are at their best in spring when there are superb displays of a full range of spring bulbs. The majority of the trees in the gardens are London Plane (Platanus x acerifolia) which are approximately 160 years old.  Being particularly tolerant of pollution, they were widely planted in Victorian cities.


Lincoln’s Inn has one of the finest and most complete 17th century squares in London and holding centre stage is a Foxglove tree (Paulownia tomentosa).  This tree originates from China and its fragrant pinkish lilac flowers never fail to stop people in their tracks.  Included in the many varied trees in ‘New Square’ is a Walnut tree, planted by the late princess Margaret 20 years ago.  The Inn’s gardens are open to the public and the three acre expanse of the North Lawn is a popular lunchtime retreat for hundreds of City workers.


I helped in the planting of the Bencher’s border, which complements the neo-Tudor architecture of the Great Hall.  The plants chosen for this mixed border are also strongly architectural so that they can be seen easily from the surrounding road, as the lawn is for benchers only.  The shrubs include Trachycarpus fortunei, Aralia elata and Rhus typhina.  The herbaceous planting is provided by Aconitum, Eryngium and Cynara cardunculus.  In amongst these are various Ornamental Grasses, including Deschampsia, Imperata and Pennisetum.  A selection of Climbing Roses and various Lonicera, Clematis and Holboellias make up the collection of plants trained against the wall behind.


I enjoy visiting Lincoln’s Inn whenever I return to London and when stepping through the gates it almost feels as though time really has stood still.  Today, few barristers live in the Inn, but otherwise the picture remains essentially the same as it always has.


I was pleased to have the opportunity to move back to the East Riding with my wife Tsuneko (originally from Tokyo) and our 4-year old daughter, Alice.  We very much look forward to being part of the community in Bishop Burton.

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