Published: 6 May 2020
One of Exeter’s oldest residents is still looking good at the ripe old age of 130 years.
The beautiful wisteria arch in Pinces Gardens has been delighting locals and visitors now since the 1880s.
This May, the wisteria is looking as good as ever, with its colourful blooms.
Locals have been enjoying the delightful sight on their daily walks and jogs in line with government guidance and social distancing during the Coronavirus outbreak.
The City Council purchased Pinces Gardens in 1912, converting it into a ‘pleasure ground’. The site had previously been one of Exeter’s first famous nurseries owned by William Lucombe, featuring an Italian Garden and later replaced with vast glasshouses packed with orchids and rare palms.
The 1880s saw another transformation with the installation of the 45 yard long wisteria arch.
Declining budgets and a loss of skilled staff within the Council led to several years of neglect with a loss of flower and colour. The mature wisteria contained a lot of dead wood, suckers and runners and became a bit of a tangled mess.
Last year the parks staff undertook a heavy prune of the wisteria, using the time to upskill staff. A hard prune of anything brings with it a certain amount of anxiety, more so when it comes to a 130 year old, much-loved feature in one of Exeter’s parks.
Thankfully experience prevailed as can be seen from these recent pictures taken by a local resident.
Future plans for the gardens involve a partnership between local residents and the Council, with residents taking on some of the maintenance, giving more of a sense of ownership in their local green space.