The Cotswold attraction were one of just eighteen shortlisted gardens, parks and tree teams from around the UK, and beyond, to win an award. The awards were judged by an independent panel of judges and presented by Lord Michael Heseltine at the Horticulture Week Custodian awards event held at Woburn Abbey Sculpture Gallery earlier this week.
Batsford were selected for the ‘Best Initiative’ award in recognition of a 10 year development plan to turn the Arboretum into a place for visitors to enjoy year-round in a bid to remove the stigma that Arboretums are only to be enjoyed in the autumn. During this time, The Batsford Foundation team - headed by Director of Operations Stuart Priest and Head Gardener Matthew Hall – have introduced a planting programme which has extended the spring flowering season into five months of the year and brought colour and interest into the Arboretum during the summer season, a time of year that was traditionally quiet. The plan also included the addition of a visitor centre in 2011 - which houses a garden centre, gift shops and a café - as well as a new children’s play area, completed in spring 2017.
Batsford’s Director of Operations Stuart Priest collected the award from Lord Heseltine along with Head Gardener Matthew Hall and his gardening team. Mr Priest said: “I’m overwhelmed to receive this award; it’s all thanks to the hard work from our staff at The Batsford Foundation and the support of our visitors, both are imperative to our survival and our ability to continue to thrive.”