Press Releases from Levens Hall
25 September 2023
Head Gardener Happy to be Back in ‘Clipping Season’
Head Gardener, Chris Crowder looks forward to another year of clipping the famous Levens Hall Topiary

Head Gardener Happy to be Back in ‘Clipping Season’

Levens Hall and Gardens’ head gardener, Chris Crowder, is heading into his two favourite months of the year, despite these being the ones in which the arduous task of clipping the world’s oldest topiary garden begins.

The Cumbrian visitor attraction is open until October 6 and the next five weeks will see keen gardeners making a bee-line for the 1694 garden, with the hope of seeing Chris and his team working their magic, with mechanical hedge trimmers and some manual tools in hand.

The fact that this will often be done from wheeled scaffold towers, and even a large cherry picker, makes it very appealing for some.

It is a huge task for the team to remove the fuzzy growth that has emerged around over 100 topiary trees.  The aim is to get them back into shape, displaying pristine lines and fabulous silhouettes once more.  For those trees that are known for being a particular object or character, this is hugely important, whether they are a peacock, top hat, Queen Elizabeth I or Homer Simpson!

This work goes on right through the winter, with it being only possible to work on one or two trees per day.  With some, such as the huge Umbrella trees, the heights involved are significant and as you would expect after over 300 years of growth.  Getting it right – and maintaining the legacy of the garden’s founder, Monsieur Guillaume Beaumont - is hugely important.  That takes time. 

Despite all the hard work required, Chris loves September and October, as all can be carried out to a plan and everyone knows exactly what will need to be done each day.  In the more frenetic parts of the season, that is not always the case. 

The few weeks before Levens Hall and Gardens closes for the winter, are also a time in which Chris is able to share his knowledge with the army of keen gardeners, who often visit solely to see the trimming and clipping in action and to quiz the team about how they are tackling things.  If they are lucky enough to see him working from a cherry picker, the cameras soon come out and pictures are shared worldwide.

Levens Hall and Gardens owner, Richard Bagot, says: “Our visitor profile changes quite notably during September, especially from the mid to end of the month.  We definitely see more avid gardeners here, all keen to understand more about the work that goes into our topiary.  We also sometimes have volunteers who come from as far afield as Sweden, just to get involved. 

“The work that goes into our fabulous topiary garden can often go unappreciated but not in September and early October.  That’s when the public really do see how much it takes to keep our garden looking so sharp.”

With the topiary garden being just one of the ‘rooms’ created by a hedge system dividing the Levens Hall grounds, there is much more than just the topiary to tackle during the winter months.  To hear about all of the work involved, head to this podcast -

Visit Levens Hall and Gardens before it closes on October 6 and you may well see the clipping in action.  Gardens-only admission costs £10.50 for an adult, £4 for a child and £26 for a family.  House and Gardens admission costs £14.50, £5 for £36, respectively.  Levens Hall and Gardens is open Sunday to Friday (closed Saturdays).

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Press calls: Jane Hunt, Catapult PR, 0333 2424062 –