As you know, the first phase of the English Heritage 20-year restoration project at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire has been opened to the public. I was lucky to be part of a group shown around by an historian involved with the project's research. It was rather like walking through an enjoyable garden history revision lecture. The de Grey family, who owned Wrest Park from the Middle Ages until the early 20th century, commissioned several 18th century landscape designers and conversed with many others. Rather than being thrown out, lost at sea, or destroyed in an unfortunate house fire, the papers, letters and diaries detailing much of the garden's development have survived - it's any garden history researcher's dream. Those of you with a place on the AGT study day in October are in for a treat.
Given the current concern about recruiting and training the horticulturalists of the future, it was good to hear that eight young gardeners have been taken on at Wrest Park under an historic gardens apprenticeship scheme. What a great opportunity to gain skills and qualifications - and on such an exciting project. No doubt it will provide a wonderful boost to their horticultural careers.
Did you know that about 17.8% of the UK population are social housing tenants? That's about 8.5 million households. There's a significant number of gardens and a large amount of green space around these homes. Nicola Wheeler from Neighbourhoods Green gave a presentation to GreenLink on the work that is being done across the country to enable social landlords, their tenants and residents to improve the quality of the green spaces in their neighbourhoods. Do have a look at their website. http://www.neighbourhoodsgreen.org.uk/