Guided Tour of Buscot Park Gardens

Peto Water Garden, Buscot

On 15th August 2018 members of the Berkshire Gardens Trust and their guests enjoyed a guided tour by the curator, Roger Vlitos, around the National Trust gardens at Buscot Park, exploring the extensive pleasure gardens that surround the late eighteenth-century house. To the west of the house, the mellow red-brick walls of the original kitchen garden now shelter the Four Seasons garden. To the east, woodland walks lead to one of Britain’s finest water gardens, an unusual marriage of Italianate formality with an English parkland landscape. From the south front of the house, the carriage drive sweeps away to the south east, down through mature woodland. From the north front of the house, the views take in the Little Lake and the Thames plain beyond.

Early Summer Visit – Rooksnest Estate, Lambourn Woodlands, Tuesday 26 June 2018

Rooksnest Visit June 2018Rooksnest Rose Garden
Rooksnest Rose GardenOn Tuesday, 26 June, 28 members of the Berkshire Gardens Trust and their guests enjoyed the visit to Rooksnest Gardens. Rooksnest is near Lambourn in West Berkshire. Although it is a relatively modern garden mostly designed by Arabella Lennox-Boyd, an internationally-renowned landscape designer, its ten acres are set out in a traditional English design.
Kevin, the head gardener, gave us a brief overview of the garden along with a map, and encouraged us to wander through the garden at our own pace. This informality worked very well on one of the sunniest, warmest days of the year. Fortunately, there was lots of shade and well-positioned benches, and a light, refreshing breeze sprang up. Kevin accompanied us around the garden and answered questions as we strolled.
While the whole garden was wonderful, my personal favourite was the Rose Garden. This was completely redesigned and replanted in 2017. Despite being only a year old, the roses looked well-established and were blooming profusely, and they were interplanted with perennials and Stipa gigantea. With its palette of mostly white and various shades of red and pink, the whole effect was romantic, blousy and very lovely.
The care and attention of the gardening team is evident throughout the gardens. No weeds, every grass edged clipped, discrete and careful staking – even the greenhouses were immaculate!
The garden tour was followed by delicious home-made cakes and tea in the open-sided barn.
All in all, a splendid afternoon in a beautiful garden!

Janet Fuller
Membership Secretary

Spring Lecture 2018 – Celebrating Humphry Repton

This year we are celebrating the life of Humphry Repton, the last great English landscape designer of the eighteenth century and the successor to Capability Brown. Repton died 200 years ago on the 24th March, 1818.
Ben Viljoen talked about the events surrounding Repton’s visit to Purley, the time he spent there with Anthony Morris Storer who had just acquired Purley Park, and the production of the Purley Red Book, one of the finest of Repton’s red books.

Autumn Visit to London 4th October 2017: Brompton Cemetery and the Garden Museum

On 4th October 2017, BGT members and their guests enjoyed a guided tour by Andy Williams, Royal Parks Manager, of Brompton Cemetery, one of the designed landscapes described in the Trust’s Spring Lecture in March 2017, and visited the newly re-designed Garden Museum in Lambeth, which began with an introduction by Christopher Woodward, Director of the Museum.

Autumn Lecture Wednesday 18th October 2017 by Richard Bisgrove

The Trust’s Autumn Lecture 2017 was given by Richard Bisgrove, author and retired Course Director in Landscape Management at Reading University, on the subject of ‘William Robinson: the Wild Gardener’. It took place at Grazeley Village Hall, Church Lane, Grazeley RG7 1LD on Wednesday 18th October.

Guided Tour of Harcourt Arboretum 30th May 2017

Guided Tour of Harcourt Arboretum 30th May 2017

On 30th May 2017 29 members and guests enjoyed a guided tour around Harcourt Arboretum in South Oxfordshire.

For the event publicity, please open the link below:

Harcourt Arboretum 30.5.2017 rev

Capability Brown in Berkshire

Celebrating the tercentenary of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, the Berkshire Record Office in Reading provided another chance to see the Berkshire Gardens Trust’s exhibition originally displayed at Caversham Park in 2016. The exhibition ran from 26 April until 30 June 2017.

For publicity, please open link below:



Kensington Gardens
Photograph by Max Rush

The Berkshire Gardens Trust’s Spring Lecture
Tuesday 21st March 2017

Andy Williams, Park Manager for Kensington Gardens and the Brompton Cemetery, gave us an overview of these two different sites, presenting some of the contemporary challenges they face and revealing some of the opportunities currently being progressed.
Brompton Cemetery recently announced a successful Heritage Lottery Funding bid to extensively restore the impressive designed landscape which is a tourist venue in its own right as well as a working cemetery. Andy has also been involved in a review of the 10 year Management Plan for the Kensington Gardens, as well as designing and building a new catering facility, with extensive feasibility work to refurbish the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground and working with the Historic Royal Palaces to realise a “contemporary reimagining” on the Old Wilderness.

Previously Royal Parks Agency Assistant Park Manager for The Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, Andy’s horticultural and landscaping career also includes experience designing and building of private domestic gardens, plant production and horticultural education, including 5 years at Hall Place, the Berkshire College of Agriculture near Maidenhead.

Autumn Lecture Thursday 18th October 2016

Harcourt Arboretum
The Harcourt Arboretum –
One of Oxfordshire’s Brightest Botanical Jewels

The Berkshire Gardens Trust’s Autumn Lecture
Tuesday 18th October 2016

This year our autumn lecture was given by Timothy Walker. After gaining a degree in botany at Oxford University, he trained in the Oxford Botanic Garden, the Savill Garden and at Kew Garden. During his period as Head Gardener at the Oxford Botanic Garden, it won 4 gold medals, 2 silver-gilts and a silver at Chelsea; and from 2002 to 2014 he was the Director of the Botanic Garden and of Harcourt Arboretum. He is a research lecturer on the Biological Sciences Course at Oxford University. He was awarded a Master of Horticulture by the RHS in 1995 and was elected a Fellow of the Linnaean Society of London in 2010.

The Harcourt Arboretum was founded in 1835 when the Harcourt family started to collect the wonderful conifers that were being introduced into this country from North America. The soil at the Arboretum is acid (very rare in Oxfordshire) and so, in addition to the mature conifers, the Arboretum houses a fine collection of rhododendrons and other calcifuge plants. It was annexed to the University of Oxford Botanic Garden in 1963 and this talk looked at the 180 year history of the site plus a ‘walk around’ the 130-acre Arboretum. The Berkshire Gardens Trust is planning to visit Harcourt Arboretum next Spring.

Tour of Five Gardens at Eton College

Eton Gardens 1 feature

Thursday 21 July 2016 1.30 to 4.30pm

We are very pleased to invite you to join us in this rare opportunity to visit the series of five beautiful and historic interlocked gardens around Eton College’s ancient buildings where we will be guided around the Luxmoore’s Garden; the Head Master’s Garden; the King of Siam’s Garden; the Provost’s Garden; and the Fellows’ Garden by the Head Gardener Michael Long and his team of gardeners who will be available to answer your questions.

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