The Savill Garden is now open for Friends and Members as well as a limited number of pre-paid tickets. The Gift Shop, Plant Centre and toilets at The Savill Building are now open for Friends, Members and customers visiting The Savill Garden.
Firstly, try The Savill Garden car park at TW20 0UJ.
The following are also open:
Virginia Water South
Wick Road is open to Members only
Ranger's Gate and Cranbourne Gate
The car park at The Valley Gardens remains closed.
Cycling in Windsor Great Park
Always cycle slowly, considerately and two metres apart
Only cycle on metalled roads
The Deer Park is closed to bicycles
Catering facilities in Windsor Great Park
The following reduced take-away catering will be available in the Great Park:
The Potting Shed at The Savill Building
The Totem Pole – ice cream van
The Valley Gardens
Please note - there may be occasions where our team will ask you to move on if an area is becoming too crowded. Please respect their request.
We are constantly reviewing the situation and should Government advice change, or public safety be compromised, we will not hesitate to impose further closures or restrictions.
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Progress of works at the Punch Bowl in The Valley Gardens
12 June 2020
The Punch Bowl was originally started back in 1948 and completed in 1951 from a wide selection of Kurume azaleas obtained from cuttings from the garden of John Barr Stevenson at Tower Court – one of the most renowned collections of Rhododendrons (including Azaleas) in the world. It was estimated that over 50,000 Azaleas were planted to create one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country.
In the mid-nineteen eighties the then Gardens team, under the guidance of the Keeper of the Gardens - John Bond, instructed that the Azaleas needed to be pruned back. Thirty years later under the Keeper of the Gardens – John Anderson it was time to start the restoration of the Punch Bowl.
In May 2017 a plan was created to prune the Azaleas (mostly Kurume), once they had started to finish flowering.The strategy was clear. We would be pruning the Azaleas very hard back. In several cases, we would remove up to two metres of growth.
This project gave the team an opportunity to remove the years of litter and debris hidden amongst the dense growth. We utilised the better access to treat the ever-invading bracken fern which had become a nuisance in several places. We also removed the small stand of Abies procera ‘Glauca’ (Noble Firs), several of which were due to come down because of decay and, in some cases, hollow trunks.
Running parallel with this project was the propagation of several thousands of Azaleas by the propagation team which would be essential to give us the opportunity to replant several large areas at a later date.
Fast forward three years to 2020 and the Punch Bowl is getting back to where we want it to be and this spring, the Azalea bowl flowered very well. Over the past winter, our team added large quantities of leaf mould in preparation for new plantings of propagated Azaleas, which were planted in the gaps. They have also been diligently watering and controlling the outbreak of weeds.
Looking ahead, the plans are to continue to propagate the Azaleas and replant in large blocks over the next few years. The Azaleas will continue to be pruned back every year, depending on the growth. This pruning is to keep the Azalea compact and in good flowering condition. Such is our determination to keep the Punch Bowl the unique feature that it deserves to be, we have maintained the small fence around it to ensure that the team can continue to concentrate on the restoration.
We are keeping an eye on the ageing Japanese Maples, as some are beginning to show signs of slowing down and die back due to climate variations. This hotter and drier weather over longer periods of the year is having an impact on many other trees across The Valley Gardens and wider Great Park. There is a success story however as the Styrax japonica (Silverball Tree), a beautiful ornamental large shrub small tree, is loving the climate conditions in the Punch Bowl and is self-seeding abundantly!