Stone Lane Gardens was the creation of June and Kenneth Ashburner, the owners of Stone Farm.
In 1971, Kenneth began planting out trees that he had grown from seed collected on travels abroad, as well as some he acquired from other nurseries and botanic gardens. Firstly a small area of a field opposite the Farm was planted. This was a boggy area of poor ground running into neighbouring farmland. Gradually more of the field was planted and landscaped, until the entire field became a fledgling woodland garden.Additional groups of trees were also planted in the other fields surrounding the farm, although only the original garden was underplanted, landscaped and kept free of livestock.
In 1992, June Ashburner decided to host an exhibition of outdoor sculpture in the garden, seeing its potential as an atmospheric backdrop for Art. The annual exhibitions, known as the ‘Mythic Garden Sculpture Exhibition’, have continued ever since.
In 1995 the importance of the tree collections was recognised by Plant Heritage (formally NCCPG), who awarded the garden National Collection status.
In 2005 Paul Bartlett became employed full time by June and Kenneth to manage the Garden and Nursery. Paul had been working regularly in the garden for many years prior to that as a self-employed gardener.
Sadly in 2010 Kenneth died following a period of ill-health. In order to safeguard the future of the National Collections of Birch and Alder, a charity was created. After a period of consultation, the charity was registered on 8th April 2011.
In 2015 the Garden was awarded ‘Scientific Status’ by Plant Heritage, in recognition of the many years of research that Kenneth had undertaken to promote knowledge of the genera. Paul is continuing this research.
In May 2016 June Ashburner sadly died after a short illness. The Charity continues to run the Garden, Nursery and Sculpture Exhibition.