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Exeter's Pinces Gardens wisteria still blooming marvellous after 133 years

Published: 19 May 2023

Wisteria arch at Pinces Gardens

One of Exeter’s oldest residents is still looking in fine fettle at the ripe old age of 133 years.

The beautiful wisteria arch in Pinces Gardens has been delighting residents and visitors since the 1880s.

This May, the wisteria is looking as good as ever, with its colourful blooms.

Visitors have been enjoying the captivating sight on their trips to the popular park.

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. 

In 2019, 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 stunning pictures.



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