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Top Gardener visits Peter Rabbit’s Garden.


Top garden designer and TV personality Diarmuid Gavin dropped into the World of Beatrix Potter™ Attraction last week with a film crew from ITV’s This Morning programme to film in the Lake District Attraction’s Peter Rabbit™ Garden.

The garden is set to feature as part of a piece on Beatrix Potter's Lakeland and places linked to the movie Miss Potter, released in 2006, which was produced by and starred Renée Zellweger. The programme to be screened on This Morning, on Wednesday 25th May is part of a series of features running throughout the build up to summer focussing on places to visit and stay around the world associated with hit movies.

The Peter RabbitTM Garden at the World of Beatrix PotterTM Attraction was designed by Chelsea Gold Medal winner Richard Lucas. He co-designed ‘The Cumbrian Fellside Garden' for the 2005 Chelsea Flower Show with Kim Wilde, where it was awarded The Royal Horticultural Society's Gold Medal, the Best Courtyard Garden Award, and the BBC People's Award.
Diarmuid Gavin said after his visit to the World of Beatrix PotterTM Attraction; "I really enjoyed visiting the Peter RabbitTM Garden - it's brilliant what has been created in such a small and difficult space. "

Gardens were at the heart of Beatrix Potter's imagination, and today her work is usually synonymous with the gardens of Edwardian England. She evokes the gentle atmosphere of countryside life from a bygone era, when it seems that the sun always shone and plants grew and flowered in abundance.

It was this atmosphere that The World of Beatrix PotterTM Attraction, in Bowness-on Windermere, wished to capture when they commissioned Richard to design their Peter RabbitTM Garden on a plot of land covering just 135 square metres, perched four metres above street level, and facing west into the prevailing weather.

Richard says; ‘'I first consulted the little books and other artwork to find inspiration to transform this difficult site, and I knew that I needed to include features such as the gate under which Peter Rabbit squeezes, vegetable plots filled with rows of colourful vegetables, and the scarecrow Mr. McGregor made from Peter's jacket!''

Richard then set about identifying over seventy species of plants from the little Potter books alone, and decided that the plants used in the garden must be historically accurate. So if a cabbage were to be planted, it should not be a modern hybrid, but a variety known to Beatrix herself. I was especially keen to explain the riddle of Peter Rabbit's ‘carrot'. The foliage of the plant Peter is eating shows that it is not in fact a carrot, as many people believe, but a radish. After research and advice from the Heritage Seed Library, the variety was identified as ‘Long Scarlet', which dates from 1859. The Library supplied seed, and today the Long Scarlet radish is thriving in the garden. The Attraction is so delighted with this discovery that it has is ‘adopted' this radish (which means that it will pay for its conservation in the Library) and it has also become a ‘seed guardian', so will produce and distribute seed of Radish ‘Long Scarlet' in the future.

Richard added; ‘'I'm sure Beatrix would welcome the Attraction's efforts to conserve plant varieties for future generations, especially as she became a pioneering conservationist with a keen interest in the natural landscape. It therefore seems only right that the Attraction garden should be run using organic and environmentally friendly principles and work to conserve a small piece of our garden heritage.''

So why not pop along to the Attraction and see the Peter RabbitTM Garden for yourself and see plants and glimpse scenes from the ‘little books' so loved by generations of children around the world. For more images and information about this family friendly attraction in Windermere, Lake District please see here.


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