Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Secret Gardens

The idea of a secret garden is always intriguing. For those of you near Bristol this weekend (16th-17th August) there's an opportunity to explore a few.  Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society (CHIA) are organising Bristol's first Open Garden Squares weekend. http://cliftonhotwells.org.uk/greensquare.html

As you know, London Parks & Gardens Trust organises the enormously popular Open Garden Squares Weekend in the capital every June. http://www.opensquares.org/ They're keen to encourage other towns and cities around the UK to join in and run similar weekends of their own.

The Lime Walk, St Andrew's Churchyard
Several Bristol based organisations were asked if they would start up the scheme in the city.  Only CHIS took up the challenge.  RoseMary Musgrave, Honorary Secretary of CHIS, says that they are 'starting small'.  They're concentrating on the 'Green Squares and Secret Gardens' hidden away in a square mile of Clifton.

Don't be fooled.  'Starting small' doesn't mean insubstantial.  As I discovered recently, this inaugural weekend is being held in a square mile crammed with unexpected treasures and fascinating history. Events are planned for all ages so there will be something going on for all the family.

The story of the walled kitchen gardens of Oxfordshire is no longer a secret.  A recent Oxfordshire Gardens Trust (OGT) survey has discovered that there were over 250 of them in Oxfordshire during the 19th century, many of which went into decline after The Great War. http://www.ogt.org.uk/

Volunteers involved with 'The Walled Kitchen Garden Project', the first county-based survey of its kind, have recorded over 200 walled kitchen gardens and have surveyed close to 90 in detail.  Their work has been summarised in an excellent (free) booklet.  Copies can be ordered from secretary@ogt.org.uk.

Autumn Dates for your diary:

16th September - 'British Gardens in Time ', RHS Lindley Library, 80 Vincent Square, London SW1P 2PE
Katie Campbell is well known to anyone who studied Garden History at Bristol University or Birkbeck College.  Katie will be giving an early evening talk at the RHS Lindley Library on 'British Gardens in Time'.  https://www.rhs.org.uk/education-learning/libraries-at-rhs/events-exhibitions

1st October - Hagley Hall; 'Paradise Regained', Hagley Hall, Worcestershire, DY9 9LG
There's still time to book for
the the next Study Day organised by The Association of Gardens Trusts and Hereford and Worcester Gardens Trust in conjunction with The Garden History Society.
Joe Hawkins, Head of Landscape at Hagley Hall will guide us through the recent restoration of George Lyttelton's 18th century park.

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