Celebrating 30 years’ work

Wallington head gardener John Ellis is presented with the sundial by 
Maureen Kesteven, County Organiser for the National Gardens Scheme.
Picture by Jane Coltman
Wallington head gardener John Ellis is presented with the sundial by Maureen Kesteven, County Organiser for the National Gardens Scheme. Picture by Jane Coltman

A beautiful brass sundial has been presented to Wallington as an acknowledgement of the 30 years that its much-loved grounds have opened for the National Gardens Scheme.

The sundial was presented to John Ellis, Wallington’s Head Gardener, by Maureen Kesteven, County Organiser for the National Gardens Scheme (NGS), and it will tell the hours in the tranquil setting of the walled garden.

Mr Ellis has been Head Gardener for 26 of the 30-year partnership with the scheme and has always been extremely supportive of the programme so it was fitting that he received the gift on behalf of the National Trust ahead of his retirement on June 5.

The partnership between the NGS and the National Trust started in 1948, after the Second World War.

Many beautiful gardens, which had been neglected because the gardeners had gone off to war or had been used for wartime purposes, came into the ownership of the National Trust.

It was agreed that some of the trust’s gardens would open for the NGS, which in turn would provide funds to help restore those plots in poor condition.

Today, around 100 National Trust gardens, including Wallington, open for the NGS each year.

As well as raising money for charities, the NGS generously provides funding for trainee gardeners at the National Trust.

Wallington has had NGS trainees over the years, and the most recent, Alex Prain, has gone on to be Garden Supervisor at the National Trust’s Nuffield Place in Oxfordshire.

The NGS still provides a yearly bursary for traineeships for the gardeners of the future.

A host of activities will take place at Wallington throughout half-term, including ‘50 things’ fun, with a pack to discover what you can do at the property.

To find out more visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wallington