Archive for May, 2011

Why are you removing rhododendrons? Richard Townsend, Tree Team

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

ponticum removal

If you’ve been a visitor to Westonbirt these last few weeks you might be surprised to see the cutting and removal of quite a few Rhododendron ponticum plants whilst in full bloom.

Sad it might be to see such vibrant purple flowers cut down, but the reason is due to the much publicised plant disease, Phytophthora ramorum.

P. ramorum is an unwelcome problem in any garden, big or small, and the consequences can be terrible. Rhododendron ponticum is a known host for the disease and so removal is wise. The reason we have to clear the plant now is because rhododendrons are notoriously difficult to identify when not in flower.

So if over the coming days you see some of our team removing these plants in flower, remember that this work will help protect our many other species of the plant – from the rare hybrids to the favourites of Westonbirt’s founder, Robert Holford.

Find out more about Phytophthora ramorum on the Forestry Commission’s website:


Westonbirt Weddings by Maureen Gobbet MBE

Friday, May 13th, 2011

In my last blog entry I talked about how I was busy planning the 3rd Wedding Open Day in a different format. I wasn’t sure how successful it would be and promised to let you know.

Well, I’m very pleased and extremely relieved that it proved to be a great success. The hall looked great with part of it set out as it would be for the ceremony, with plant arrangements provided by the Plant Centre.  Relish, our caterers, had a very tempting display of cakes, canapés and drinks and they had lots of enquiries for their services.

Sylvia and I had a display of photographs and were able to answer questions about holding Civil Ceremonies at the arboretum. We had a lucky draw and one couple won 10% off the hire of the Great Oak Hall if they booked their event as the result of attending the Open Day. The second prize was kindly provided by Relish for a glass of Prosecco for 50 guests.

Visitors were queuing at the door for the opening at 11 a.m. and we had a good steady stream throughout the day until we closed at 3 p.m. Several provisional bookings for Civil Ceremonies were taken and there was additional interest from couples who hadn’t finalised their planned date.

Kim Seaton, the wedding co-ordinator is now busy following up the provisional bookings. I hope to hold another Open Day next March. More details to follow nearer the date.