Following the park's restoration in 2010 the planting continues to be reviewed regularly. The style reflects that of the 1930s.
Walking round you will find mixed herbaceous borders after Gertrude Jekyll, feature rockeries and a formal rose garden. Rosa Albertine, R. Alberic Barbier and R.Rambling Rector cover pergolas. Shrub borders are planted with berrying shrubs which provide food and shelter for wildlife,and wild flowers grow on the bank sides.
Autumn and winter colour can be found in the stems of cornus, rubus, the bark of Prunus serrrula (cherry) and Planatus acerifolia (London Plane) and in the foliage of acers and Ailanthus altissima (Tree of Heaven). There are many specimen trees of interest throughout the park including Araucaria araucana (monkey puzzle tree), Catalpa bignonioides (Indian bean tree), Pyrus domestica (pear) which pre-date the park and Quercus petraea (sessile oak).
Bulb displays make a spring visit well worthwile, look out for the crocus river on St. Hilda's Terrace, and traditional bedding displays provide seasonal colour.
The Jurassic Garden is planted with ferns, palms and specimen trees such as Ginkgo biloba and Pinus nigra Austriaca.
The planting in the South Seas Garden (Little Park) reflects that of the southern hemisphere with phormium, hebe and olearia. Stone turtles swim through a sea of crocus and hyacinth in spring.
A river of 15,000 crocus bulbs 130m in length was planted in the autumn of 2011 running down St. Hilda's Terrace to the South Seas Garden. Over three days 40 children from local schools worked with the Friends of Pannett Park and council staff to complete this exciting project.
A stand of overgrown leylandii and holly was removed from a corner of the museum. This has let light into a formerly dark, unattractive area allowing future planting to thrive. The tree stumps were ground out and the soil dug over and enriched with organic matter. A Cedrus atlantica glauca (Blue Atlas Cedar) has been planted with a drift of narcissus Tete a Tete.
The rose garden has been completely renovated. Failing roses were removed and replanted elsewhere in the park in enriched soil. Soil was removed from the existing beds and 200 tonnes of fresh loam enriched with organic matter dug in. Mycorrhizal fungi were applied to the roots of the new plants to help develop sound root systems. The roses sourced locally comprise Hybrid Musks, Floribundas and Hybrid Teas, all chosen for their vigour, reliability, disease resistance and scent.
The twin herbaceous borders have been replanted in a style to reflect the Gertrude Jekyll border on the main drive. Existing plants were used elsewhere in the park. Obelisks matching others in the park have been installed.
A dark, damp, uninspiring corner near a main entrance has been transformed by the planting of ferns including Dicksonia antarctica, and hostas 'Sum and Substance' and 'Big Daddy' whose leathery leaves are less attractive to slugs.
The primitive style planting has been boosted by the addition of more ferns, phyllostachys, pinus, Trachycarpus fortunei and Rhus typhina (Stag's horn sumach).
Wild Flower Project
As part of the park's restoration plans were drawn up to introduce wild flowers to certain areas. Wild flowers provide an alternative to lawns and traditional borders, they provide a display for months and grow in difficult areas with poor soil and on slopes. Most importantly wild flowers provide a rich source of pollen and nectar which are food for essential pollinating insects such as bees, butterflies and insects which are in decline.
The best plants for attracting pollinators are native varieties, often with single open blooms and visible stamens and pollen. Flowers of different shapes and heights are desirable too, e.g. digitalis and crocus, and those with successional flowering.
An area of grassland on the embankment was identified as suitable for wild flowers and allowed to grow uncut throughout the summer of 2011. This allowed us to see which wild flowers were already present. Conopodium majus (pignut) and Anthriscus sylvestris (cow parsley) were found in abundance. Digitalis (foxgloves) have been transplanted into the area.
In spring 2012 large plug plants of Anemone nemorosa (wood anemone), Primula veris (cowslip), Primula vulgaris (primrose) and Viola riviniana 'Purpurea' (dog violet), 3,800 in total were planted in the Pinus sylvestris ( Scots pine) copse. These will spread over time to form a carpet of spring flowers.
Specimen trees planted in 2012
Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Gold Rush' (Dawn redwood).
Betula utilis var. jacquemontii 'Doorenbos' (Himalayan birch 'Snow Queen')
Pinus nigra Austriaca (Austrian pine)
Magnolia soulangeana underplanted with 1000 purple crocus.
100 whips of Malus sylvestris (crab apple) and Prunus avium (wild cherry) have been planted in the wild life border in autumn.
450 miniature narcissus have been planted on the embankments.
A sub group of the management committee meets monthly to develop the planting and to take practice forward through training.
The twin rockeries overlooking Chubb Hill: the planting has been redesigned by the Friends of Pannett Park. The new plants are suited to the prevailing conditions and provide structure, colour and seasonal interest.
Roses and Clematis State-of-the-art metal obelisks made by a local craftsman have been installed in the Harry Eatough bed, the sundial borders and in the long herbaceous border. The roses chosen for these have been partnered with an appropriate clematis: Rosa Mermaid with Clematis Perle d'Azure.
Mulch of bark chips. A thick layer has been spread over most of the beds and borders. This will conserve moisture in the soil and reduce weed growth.
The Lily Pool A major improvement of the planting in this area has been made possible by a local sponsor. Archive photographs from the 1930s and 40s guided the choice of plants which have been chosen to provide height, structure, seasonal interest and ground cover.
Peony Steps Watch this space for news of a major piece of art and the reintroduction of peonies to the area.
Training Exercise Working to a design brief the volunteer gardeners are planning a planting scheme for an area inside the main gates. This should provide a 'wow' factor at the main entrance, with seasonal interest and colour.
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The page will be updated as the planting develops.