Victorian gardens opened to the public

The Italianate Gardens and pleasure grounds owned by the founder of the Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire have been opened to the public to help raise money for a restoration project, according to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

The green space and Victorian main building – which is now used as an independent girls school – are in need of attention and horticulture fans will be able to contribute by visiting the site.

One-time owner Robert Stayner Holford was a keen collector of plants and filled the grounds with an array of species from botanical institutions.

Many of the varieties at the site will need to be propagated to retain their unique genetics as they were new to the UK at their time of planting.

Former Westonbirt pupil Lady Bland set up the Holfords of Westonbirt Trust in order to raise the £2.9 million needed for the restoration of the estate.

Part of that figure has been achieved through a development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, but the trust is keen to welcome horticulture fans to help it reach its target.

The grounds will be open until November 1st, meaning garden and greenhouse enthusiasts do not have long to get there.

Meanwhile, the RHS recently revealed that a chemical known to damage vegetable crops is set to be reintroduced to the market.