New Chairman’s First Blog

Rosa Maidens Blush sc

 The AGM of the Trust bade farewell to Dr Christina Hill Williams DL, our first Chairman and one of the Founders of the Berkshire Gardens Trust. The Members voted unanimously that she be appointed as a Vice President of the BGT. The Committee had elected me Chairman of the Trust; the other officers remain the same.

I was lucky as a child to spend time with my grandmother, who loved gardening. She had remarkable success in growing cuttings and some lovely roses in her garden in York. Fortunately I inherited her love if not her skill. It was therefore with great pleasure that I accepted Christina’s invitation to join the Committee when I retired in 2012.

Since then I have learned so much from my fellow Committee members about gardens their history and their importance to our environment and the enjoyment of our landscape. This has led me into research for the Gazetteer under the guidance and tuition of Ben Viljeon. The wonder of the internet leads to the beauty of the garden.

After a cold start this has been a good year for gardening, with later flowers and vegetables catching up and a wonderful season for fruits and berries. The autumn colours are lighting up these dull days, with gold and red leaves. Holly berries and cotoneaster give a brightness to the decaying plants in the garden.

As we plan the garden for next year, the BGT is looking ahead to Tim Richardson’s talk on the Chelsea Fringe – a motley selection of gardens, not the latest hairstyle! Then we have Rosamund Wallinger in the Spring, an opportunity to learn more about Gertrude Jekyll. There is also the little matter of planting Watlington House Garden when Gaila judges the time is right. Lots of help needed there. Then, hopefully, the garden can provide a refuge for the community to escape the noise and bustle of life in Reading.

The purpose of the Gazetteer is to provide an up-to-date record of Berkshire Gardens of historic or contemporary exceptional interest. This would help English Heritage in judging the effect of proposed major development projects. But they have to guard the sites of national importance, we are concerned also with local development which affects peoples’ enjoyment of their environment. So we need to be on guard for any applications which may affect important gardens. We will need the help of members in this work, but first we need to establish a reliable and informative list. Volunteers always welcome!

Come to learn, come to enjoy and come to make friends with garden lovers and historians of our heritage from around Berkshire. If you are not a member do join us.

Charles Elly

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