New film looks back on 20 years of The Alnwick Garden

The Duchess of Northumberland has reflected on the past and looks forward to the future as The Alnwick Garden marks its 20th anniversary.

Sunday, 17th May 2020, 12:02 pm
The Grand Cascade at The Alnwick Garden.
The Grand Cascade at The Alnwick Garden.

The garden remains closed due to the coronavirus pandemic but the Duchess has contributed to a film documenting the journey over the past two decades.

It charts the highs and lows from the opening of the first phase by Prince Charles to the planning, hard work and daunting challenges in getting it off the ground.

The Duchess said: “I always knew that people would only really ever understand The Garden’s impact by being here, coming and seeing it for themselves, absorbing and delighting in all that there is.

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“I hope this film will give everyone a chance to do just that, until we can open our gates once again.”

There is also never-before-seen footage of the problems of constructing The Grand Cascade on what turned out to be running sand, coupled with revealing interviews with the construction team on site.

The film ends by looking to the future as the Duchess outlines her vision for the next phase of development, Lilidorei, a magical village that will be home to nine clans of fairies, witches, elves and goblins.

“The massive project now is Lilidorei,” she said. “I’d like to see 200 older people dancing at a tea party in the Pavilion, I’d like to see the drop-in centre heaving with people having cups of tea and a piece of cake and chatting to their friends, I’d like to see children running around and I’d like to see it finished.”

The documentary is all the more poignant by the death of The Duchess’ right hand man and project director Ian August in 2016.

In an affection tribute to his work, the film was written and produced by his son, Simon.

Originally due to be projected on to the castellated Water Tower in The Garden, to be seen and enjoyed by the many thousands of visitors who had been expected during the summer, the Making of The Alnwick Garden has been made available to watch online at www.alnwickgarden.com or at its Facebook page.

Meanwhile, a stunning aerial video of the cherry blossom orchard at The Alnwick Garden has been released.

Drone footage shows the 329 trees in the world’s largest Tai Haku orchard in full bloom.

Petals from the blossom are being used to create a limited edition Japanese sencha green tea in a partnership with Gateshead based single-estate tea merchants Estate Tea Co.

While the attraction is closed due to coronavirus, a live webcam is also giving people an opportunity to see it.

Watch it at www.alnwickgarden.com/the-garden/cherry-blossom/

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