Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Attracting Winter Visitors to Public Gardens

Rather than closing attractive public gardens in the winter, the new trend is to not only keep them open, but to encourage visitors to visit off-season by setting aside special areas to be viewed in the cold months of the year. Visitors agree that there is no better way to pass a cold and dreary day than by taking a brisk winter walk in a well tended garden followed by a fireside seat at a cozy inn. With this idea in mind, many of the most beautiful summer gardens are now preparing in advance for wintertime activities.

Planning Ahead
As with all successful businesses, a little forethought is required to attract a new type of clientele that will increase visitors while helping pull up sagging wintertime profits. It's time to plan ahead to pull people up out of their warm homes on gray and chilly days to enjoy a poetic experience in a winter wonderland. This begins in the months leading up to the winter by planting with all four seasons in mind. In addition to it being a really "cool" experience, it gives locals a chance to go and see which plants survive well in their climate. With instructive guides accompanying visitors, they can learn a wealth of information that they can take home and apply in their own gardens.

Old Roses in the Winter
The Hampshire Garden, which is under the direction of the National Trust at Mottisfont, is known for its collection of old roses. The head gardener has found that by turning the winter fields of leafless trees into picture-perfect sculptures, he can show people the garden from another viewpoint. Rather than looking down at the old rose beds, he encourages visitors to look up at the beauty as seen from below. That, along with the beautiful springs and cascading water, has turned the winter garden into a scene of outstanding beauty.