Chairman’s Blog October 2014

Herbaceous border at Howick Hall

Our AGM and Autumn Lecture were on the 3rd October. Full Reports from the Treasurer and from me are on the website, and show a satisfactory financial position and report the projects currently in hand. We then had a lecture by Hal Moggeridge who is a respected and outstanding Landscape Designer with responsibility for the Welsh Botanic Gardens and the refurbishment of the garden at Blenheim Palace, among many other achievements. We are lucky to attract speakers of his calibre.
This really marked the end of summer, and is a time to look back on our success and failures in the garden this year. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the gardens we have visited. I was fortunate to be able to go to Northumberland where I visited the birthplace of Capability Brown and saw the Church where he was baptised and the school he attended in Cambo. Lots of work going on there in preparation for the visitors expected in 2016. We also visited the Garden at Alnwick, which is spectacular in its Grand Cascade, educative in the water features of the serpent garden and stunning in the ornamental garden, with its wealth of unusual as well as more common herbaceous plants.
I preferred the more relaxed atmosphere of Howick Hall near Craster (pictured above). The home of Earl Grey of tea fame, it is still occupied in part by the Howick family. Lady Howick’s private garden which was also open is stunning. The whole garden and grounds give an impression of permanence and with specific areas like the woodland garden make an enjoyable afternoon.
Planting a sapling in the GalapagosLater we visited the Galapagos Islands, hardly a garden in the European sense but with its own unique plants as well the birds and animals. Conservation is taken seriously and invasive introduced species have been removed to be replaced by native trees. We were taken to the site of cleared undergrowth to plant new native trees there. Good to see how the islanders are caring for their unique habitat.

Keep a watch out for our programme for next year. We will be having a Speaker in March and the AGM and Speaker will be in October. We plan to hold our Meetings on a Thursday in the light on concern expressed about the problems on the M4 on a Friday night. We hope to meet in Shaw House Newbury in March and at Purley Barn in October. We are also putting plans together for garden visits next summer.

Charles Elly

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