Trentham - Medusa Statue

Trentham Unveils New Garden Plans to Celebrate 20th Anniversary

In 2024, Trentham celebrates 20 years since the reopening of the gardens following huge regeneration by St Modwen. Today, Trentham launches the Gardens Revisited Project which will focus on the Italian Garden and Rose Border developments with a 3-year phased programme, working with renowned garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith and world-famous rose growers David Austin Roses. 

Trentham is delighted to announce a series of ambitious garden development plans, as part of an exciting programme of events and activities marking the 20th anniversary of the Gardens’ re-opening. This significant milestone celebrates two decades of horticultural excellence and innovation at one of the UK’s most cherished historic gardens.

Tom Stuart-Smith

Central to our celebrations is a collaboration with the renowned garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith to revisit his original designs for Trentham’s Italian Garden. This project seeks to build upon the Garden’s legacy while introducing contemporary elements that reflect the evolving nature of garden design. Stuart-Smith’s visionary work, which initially transformed Trentham Gardens into a modern masterpiece, will be honoured and updated to ensure the Gardens continue to inspire visitors for years to come.

Tom Stuart-Smith reflects on why he is excited to work with Trentham 20 years later “As the challenges of our time pushes us to new ways, more resilient and in tune with the environment, it is now the moment to revisit and adapt what we have done in the past. There has been a lot of research and progress happening in the planting world since we planted the Italian garden back in 2004. The new makeover of the garden allows us to put new insights into practice: to let go of the species acting poorly in the plant community, to reuse those species that are thriving, and to add those with high potential to master climate change.”

Flanking either side of The Italian Garden, are two 120-metre-long borders designed by eminent Dutch plantsman, Piet Oudolf. With a choice selection of plants including Salvias, Echinacea, Phlox and a large selection of ornamental grasses. The Long Borders have complemented Tom Stuart-Smith’s planting for many years and will carry on doing so in the many years to come.

David Austin Roses

Furthermore, Trentham is proud to partner with David Austin Roses for a complete redesign of the Rose Border. This exciting initiative will introduce a curated selection of pink and white roses, showcasing the diversity and beauty of the English Rose collection. The redesign will also incorporate rare and heritage species roses to enhance the border’s diversity, focusing on fragrance, flower shapes, and sizes to create a unique sensory experience.

Looking Ahead

These garden enhancement plans are a tribute to the past 20 years of growth and success, as well as a commitment to the future. By collaborating with figures like Tom Stuart-Smith and partnering with David Austin Roses, Trentham Estate continues to maintain and further develop the Gardens.

Piet Oudolf’s plantings schemes of the Floral Labyrinth and Rivers of Grass were commissioned 20 years ago by St Modwen and completed back in 2005. These are well known for the prairie style planting of perennial and ornamental grasses and have been adored by visitors, photographers and wildlife alike.

The Lakeside Walk development has been an on-going process since 2017. Trentham is collaborating with Professor Nigel Dunnett in creating a series of contemporary, environmentally sustainable and naturalistic perennial meadows to increase the visual impact of the walk as well as increasing our diverse range of flora and fauna.

Trentham Head Gardener Luke Bartle added “Our 20th Anniversary and the Gardens Revisited Project is a wonderful opportunity to reflect how schemes have performed over the past 20 years, but more importantly, looking at planting that will last the next 20 years and more. A lot has changed in the last 20 years since the Gardens were planted in their original schemes, so it’s great to be revisiting this and to build on and future-proof the Gardens.”

Invitation to Celebrate

  • The popular visitor attraction is inviting guests and garden enthusiasts to join them in celebrating their landmark anniversary.
  • The Trentham 20 Programme will reflect on two decades of beauty, and countless personal experiences, memories and stories.
  • Visitors can join in the celebrations including:
  • A brand-new Trentham visitor guide launched
  • Our Trentham Anniversary Exhibition of special people sharing their unique stories of why Trentham is their special place
  • Trentham 20 Anniversary Giveaway – 20 years, 20 prizes
  • 20 willow weaving sculptures will be created as part of the summer programme
  • Special Anniversary Event – details to be announced 


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