Monday, 6 February 2012


Early February and I'm snowed unexpected opportunity to bring you up-to-date with some of the things that lie ahead in 2012.

What a contrast to the weather we had at the end of 2011.  Sally Walker and I went along to the Heritage Alliance AGM in December.  As it was held in a converted warehouse in Wapping we expected to freeze - but it was positively balmy.  Heritage Alliance brings together representatives from over ninety different non-government organisations - everything from the Railway Heritage Trust to the National Piers Society.  As a result, the warehouse was full of engaging personalities, all equally passionate about the heritage interests of their particular organisation.

If you're not aware of Heritage Open Days it's worth making a note in your diary now.  For three days every year (6-9 September in 2012) anyone and everyone can explore an extraordinary array of historic properties free of charge.  Many of them are usually closed to the public.  What an inventive way to generate enthusiasm for our heritage! Details of this year's venues will be posted on the website in the summer. . I struggle to tear myself away from the garden at that time of year, but having read the 'highlights' from 2011 ( ) I think I'll forget the deadheading for a couple of days.

2012 could be a particularly exciting year for GreenLINK, the green-sector's relatively recently formed version of Heritage Alliance.  It's launching a brave new venture - one that I suspect could be of great benefit to us, both at a national and at a county level.

Realising that many green-related charities are struggling to be heard in this economic climate, GreenLINK are proposing 'a shared sector approach' which they hope will raise support from 'previously untapped sources'.  A new website will give organisations like ours the opportunity to tell the world about what we do and the kind of help we need.  Businesses and individuals who are blissfully unaware of our existence will have the chance to learn about our projects.

Entitled 'Green-Giving', the initiative will work at a local, a city and at a national level.  It should attract a more diverse audience than small organisations like our own are usually capable of reaching.  If it works well, it should match up the many people who would like to make a contribution (whether of time or money) with the organisations that need help.  It could take a while for the venture to get going, but it's difficult to see a down-side for organisations like ours. I'll keep you up-to-date with its progress.

Have you noticed the 'Garden for the Games' link on the Home Page of the AGT website? If your Trust decides to get involved, do let me know.  A friend of mine is one of the thousands of volunteers recruited to help with the Games.  He's finding that being involved with the energy, enthusiasm and sheer scale of the Olympic machine is hugely uplifting.

If you haven't had a look at Verena's Historic Landscape Project Forum yet then this cold snap could be the perfect time.  There are several discussions going on at the moment.  A Gardens Trust member from Sussex has a question about websites. Another member from Cheshire would like to hear from anyone who is using geographic information research systems (GIS) for garden history research. Verena has asked a useful question about the way we market ourselves - something we may need to think about if the GreenLINK 'Green-giving' project is successful.

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