A Model Village is an unexpected place to find such an ornate garden. Over the last 30 years we have slowly built a collection of conifers and shrubs that are the envy of many. Our conifer and shrub collection now totals over 3000 specimens, many of which have been carefully pruned using the niwaki approach. As with the Japanese tradition we have concentrated on using a chosen range of trees sculpting them individually, for maximum effect, to create the right atmosphere to offset the models.
 Japanese descriptive term for highly sculpted trees
We buy the vast majority of our stock from Swanborough Conifers in Wiltshire (specialist conifer nursery). The emphasis is always to take on very small specimens and then bring them to life within the Model Village. Our gardener, Fred Green, will carefully select a prime spot for each new tree and then plant, prune and shape them as they grow. Quite often we use our ’model of the Model village’ area as the prime spot for planting our new arrivals. They are then allowed to settle and ‘get their toes in’. This process may take a number of years and once they reach a point where they become out of scale with the models in this specific location we then find a more suitable position for them.
This process of continually reviewing the size of our trees and their respective position means that the look and feel of the garden is constantly changing. As each tree comes of age and begins to show its true potential we look to ensure it is placed within the garden to show it off at its best. Some of our trees are over 50 years old and have been shaped to retain their scale to the model houses. Our garden is unique on the Island providing inspiration for the novice gardener and envy for the expert! We undertake an annual move around of up to 300 trees to ensure the scale, colour, perspective and garden interest is retained. The number of trees moved will depend on which areas of the garden we need to re-landscape for each year.
Our gardens offer the opportunity to see how it is possible to maintain a wide variety of conifers at this small scale. With the decreasing size of the average family garden this provides inspiration for keen gardeners to use this versatile genus to provide year round colour and interest at home.
The photo on the left was taken in the early 1970’s from the top of the site looking down towards the Old Vicarage. You can see how this part of the site has evolved to our fabulous conifer collection today.