In 1980, Mr. Whiteley bought Evenley Wood Garden. Farming the land around this area for a number of years gave him good knowledge of the soil, thus prompting his purchase:
“I knew there was a patch of acid soil as I had seen the Rhododendrons flowering. I believe they were planted in 1900 for pheasant cover when the wood was part of the wider Evenley Hall Estate.”
The original plan was to develop the acid patch as a garden within the wood, but as bulbs were one of Tim’s horticultural interests, he decided not to limit them to one area. Among the bulbs that Mr. Whiteley enjoyed were snowdrops and lilies, and he also had a keen interest in trees including oaks, maples, euonymus and magnolias. One of his favourite lilies in the garden was the red-flowering Lilium ‘Garden Society’, which he bred, the North American Lilium canadense, and martagon hybrid Lilium ‘Theodor Haber’.
“It surprises me that people don’t see the attractiveness of woodland gardens over the summer. Yes, there are bulbs, especially snowdrops, daffodils, scillas, crocuses and cyclamens planted for the spring display, but we shouldn’t forget 300 roses, 120 lilies and 50 euonymus flowering in Evenley Wood each summer for our pleasure.”
Evenley Wood Garden has produced nine new plants – some of which are available in the trade. These include a maple, later named as Acer campestre ‘Evenley Red’, and Lilium ‘Evenley Jane’ which was named after Mr. Whiteley’s wife.
“Sometimes, you need to be a good observer and have tremendous luck.”
Mr. Whiteley actively participated in the garden’s activities until he passed away, aged 85, on 9th January 2017.
Nicola Taylor took on the mantle of running Evenley Wood Garden in 2018 which was a huge
task and an enormous challenge, having previously had a career with horses, gardening was not her first passion but what she lacked in knowledge she made up for in enthusiasm, passionately believing that the wood is her fathers legacy and should be preserved for us and future generations.
“It is a wonderful and beautiful place which is constantly changing with the
seasons but is also of great importance and significance to many botanists, plantsmen and women
and gardeners throughout the world.”
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