#WattsWednesday: The Watts Gardens

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Posted 18th April 2018

The Watts Gardens

My position as Curator of Landscape was created following a grant made available by the John Ellerman Foundation, an organization which values the importance of museums and galleries as a means for people to engage with arts and heritage.

Up until this time, the gardens and grounds had been carefully nurtured by a wonderful group of Garden Volunteers or Cultural Gardeners, headed by Lady Emma Verey. Each volunteer was responsible for their own bed or area and this was how the Gallery's borders were cared for over the years.

Since funds have now been made available for me to devote my time to the landscape, I am hoping to create a cohesive scheme around the Gallery grounds and develop new areas within the landscape of Watts Gallery – Artists' Village. We have more volunteers joining and rather than having individual beds, we are trying to organize working parties of volunteers so we can work together to share ideas and make it fun!

We have just created a bed directly in front of the Gallery: a simple, structured, low maintenance border to reflect the simplicity of the building itself, which will help soften its harsh exterior. We sourced some Victorian edging tiles from a local reclamation yard in keeping with the Gallery and, hopefully, it will seem that it's always been there.

There are plans afoot in the next couple of months to create a Gertrude Jekyll-inspired summer border on the South side of Limnerslease, together with the re-siting of a Mary Watts well on the South Lawn. In addition to this, we are gradually planting shade-loving plants along Gallery Lane to soften the old road up to the Gallery. It is an exciting time!

Our summer programme will give members of the public the opportunity to join our first gardening tours. We hope the development of the landscape and gardens will reach out to a wider audience and encourage more people to visit and enjoy the remarkable space here at Watts Gallery - Artists' Village.

Nicky Webber
Curator of Landscape