Over 40 years ago, Kenneth and his wife June began creating the garden at Stone Farm in Devon, enchanted by the site with spectacular views across Dartmoor. Kenneth’s passion for trees soon developed, so much so that he became a modern-day plant hunter, travelling around the Northern Hemisphere in search of birch and alder species to grow here. Many of the spectacular trees that grace the garden today have been grown from his wild-collected seed. June, an artist, saw that the trees would make an inspirational setting for outdoor art, and so the annual Mythic Garden sculpture exhibition was born.
Stone Lane Gardens is a charity registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales. (No. 1141252)
The charity was created to safeguard the garden following the death of Kenneth Ashburner in 2010. His wife June Ashburner remained very much at the helm, as a Trustee in the charity, until her death in 2016. The charity continues to run the sculpture exhibition, which June first started in 1992, which takes place every summer in the garden.
There are seven Trustees, all of whom bring their own skills and enthusiasm to the organisation.
The garden and nursery are run by Paul Bartlett, our Garden Manager. Paul has worked in the garden for Kenneth and June since 1997. We also have an Education Officer, Alison Couch, who is responsible for educating the public, both young and old, about art, the environment and conservation.
Paul and Alison are helped by a small but enthusiastic band of volunteers, as well as two local conservation groups.
The ‘Objects’ of the charity
1. To advance the education of the public by the provision and maintenance of an arboretum containing National collections of Birch (Betula) and Alder (Alnus) and by researching Birch and Alder and associated organisms in order to share knowledge and increase the scientific understanding of the genera.
2. To promote the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment, in particular by:
(a) the preservation of rare and endangered species contained within the arboretum;
(b) promoting the cultivation and distribution of Birch and Alder trees in order to create greater awareness of the environmental benefits of planting trees, creating new wildlife habitats and increase biodiversity.
3. To advance education of the public in the understanding and appreciation of the arts by organising exhibitions, events and encouraging high standards of arts.’