Easton Lodge Garden Visit

Restored balustrading and hard standing around Peto’s Italianate lily pool. Photo credit Easton Lodge Gardens.

Guided Tour of Easton Lodge Garden

Thursday 9 June 2022 at 11:00am: entries £8.50 members and guests

As described by Alison Moller in her recent Study Day talk, Easton Lodge garden is a quintessential example of Harold Peto’s landscaping style, created for Frances Evelyn ‘Daisy’ Maynard who inherited the estate at the age of three and went on to marry Lord Brooke, becoming the leading socialite of her generation. From 1902, Harold Peto fashioned his largest Japanese garden, a sunken Italian garden with a 100-ft, balustraded lily pond, French pergolas, formal lawns, a tree glade and a (now-restored) tree house. Sadly, the house and estate all suffered decline and damage during the war years but, since 1971, a process of gradual restoration has been under way to recapture the former glory of the gardens. There is a well-stocked walled kitchen garden, ten champion trees and a stumpery. The day will begin promptly at 11:00am and the entry will include refreshments and a guided tour, including the history of the garden and a visit to the archive room. Entry £8.50 for members and guests.

Getting there: the address is Easton Lodge, Little Easton, Dunmow CM6 2BD. There is a helpful map and directions (download from here) on reaching the garden from Junction 8 of the M11, along the A120.

Bookings: preferably by BACS transfer of £8:50 to Cambridgeshire County Garden Trust (sort code 20-29-68, account number 30347639) using your name as reference. Cheques, payable to Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust, may be sent to Jane Sills, The Willows, Ramsey Road, Ramsey Forty Foot PE26 2XN.

We look forward to seeing you there!

CGT Summer Social Evening

Picnic at The Manor, Hemingford Grey

Wednesday 15 June 2022 from 5:30pm-8:30pm

Entry, including a glass of Prosecco or soft drink, £12 before 20 May,
or £15 after 20 May, with last bookings on 8 June.

Diana Boston and the CGT Council of Management warmly invite members and their guests to an informal summer’s evening, bring-your-own picnic in the lovely grounds of Diana’s home at Hemingford Grey Manor. The house was built in the 1130’s and is one of the oldest private houses in the country. Some rooms will be open for guests to explore. The gardens feature a moat, topiary, old roses, award-wining irises and herbaceous borders. Off-street parking will be available, and a map can be found here. Do bring a picnic to enjoy with friends in the grounds from 5:30pm-8:30pm.

Getting there: The address is The Manor, Hemingford Grey, Huntingdon PE28 9BN.

From Huntingdon: exit A1307 left at junction 25, follow New Road to T-junction with High Street; turn right and look for CGT parking in field on left at sharp right bend.

From Cambridge: exit A1307 left at junction 25 and cross dual carriageway, follow Rideaway to junction with Royal Oak Lane; turn right and follow to T-junction with High Street; turn right and look for CGT parking in field on left at sharp right bend.

From the parking field: please follow the riverside footpath to The Manor gateway.

A map and directions can be found here.

Bookings: preferably by BACS transfer to Cambridgeshire County Garden Trust (sort code 20-29-68, account number 30347639) using your name as reference. Cheques, payable to Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust, may be sent to Jane Sills, The Willows, Ramsey Road, Ramsey Forty Foot PE26 2XN.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Titchmarsh House Gardens Visit

A border at Titchmarsh House in early spring.

Guided Tour of Titchmarsh House Gardens

Tuesday 10 May 2022 at 11:00am
This event has now passed.

Entries £10.00 members and guests, to include refreshments on arrival and a guided tour of the gardens. Proceeds go to charity.

Titchmarsh House Gardens have grown over the years from a garden of about 1 acre in 1972 to its present size of about 4.5 acres. There are special collections of spring bulbs, magnolias, cherries, crab apples, irises, peonies and roses with many unusual trees and shrubs including rare buddleias, philadelphus, deutzias and abelias. Flowering starts in February and continues to the end of June. The grounds include a walled ornamental vegetable garden and an ancient yew hedge. The kitchen garden has box hedge-bordered paths incorporating collections of peonies and over fifty varieties of irises which flower from mid-April, through May and into early June. The owners have planted the majority of the trees and seen several of them reach maturity, while still retaining sight-lines to the village church and that in Aldwincle.

Finding the garden: The full address is Titchmarsh House, Chapel Street, Titchmarsh, Northamptonshire NN14 3DA. If arriving via the A14: exit at junction 14 (right turn across the dual carriageway); after 1.2 miles, turn left onto High Street; at the Wheatsheaf pub, turn right onto North Street; after 120 yds, turn left onto Chapel Street. To avoid the right turn at J14: continue west on the A14 to J13 roundabout, taking 4th exit signed A605; pass two roundabouts remaining on the A605; turn right onto Church Street and finally left onto Chapel Street.

Bookings: preferably by BACS transfer of £10 to Cambridgeshire County Garden Trust (sort code 20-29-68, account number 30347639) using your name as reference. Cheques, payable to Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust, may be sent to Jane Sills, The Willows, Ramsey Road, Ramsey Forty Foot PE26 2XN.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Moggerhanger Park Visit

Watercolour commisioned by Twigden Homes for use in advertising. View showing impression of house after restoration.

Guided Tours of Moggerhanger House and Park

Tuesday 5 April 2022 at 11:00am: entries £10.00 members and guests
This event has now passed

Moggerhanger Park is a historic Georgian house, recently promoted to Grade I listing. It is recognised as the most complete surviving example of Sir John Soane’s architecture. Our guides will explore the history of the house and highlight the features of its fascinating interior. The day will begin promptly at 11:00am with coffee, tea and Danish pastry or biscuits.

The stylish grounds include 33 acres of parkland and woodland designed in part by Humphry Repton. Tim Kirk, the head gardener, will guide us round the current shrubberies, walled gardens and plantings, and describe his plans for the restoration and development of the site.

Optional snack lunch of sandwiches and savouries, with fruit or petits fours, may be available in the house for a further £10.00 (payable on the day) if 20 attendees to the house tour wish to prebook for it. Please book for lunch by email to admin@cambridgeshiregardenstrust.org.uk by Sunday 27 March.

Bookings: preferably by BACS transfer of £10 to Cambridgeshire County Garden Trust (sort code 20-29-68, account number 30347639) using your name as reference. Cheques, payable to Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust, may be sent to Jane Sills, The Willows, Ramsey Road, Ramsey Forty Foot PE26 2XN.

We hope to see you there!

Lecture Season 2022

As we emerge from the third lockdown, we continue the successful Zoom lecture programme that we launched in Autumn 2020, now interspersed with live talks, where possible. CGT is delighted to offer members and guests an opportunity to participate. A few days before each Zoom talk, an invitation email will be sent out enabling you to join from your own home. Guests must register with admin to receive the joining details. Most talks will be streamed live using Zoom and notes on how to install and operate Zoom can be found by clicking this link. A brief calendar of events follows below with links (where active) to further information. We hope you will join in these events, for which there is usually no charge to members, and that you will find them stimulating and enjoyable.


Forthcoming events in 2022 (under construction)

Date and timeSpeakerTitle
12 March 2022
10:00am – 3:00pm
(Live event now passed)
Prof. Susan Oosthuizen
Dr Twigs Way
Bridget Flanagan
Liz Whittle
Alison Moller
CGT Study Day 2022
Archaeology to garden history: blurring the boundaries and bringing new light

Study Day 2022

LIDAR map of the 17C Tackley Water Gardens, visible as symmetric triangular features.
LIDAR data © Environment Agency & Natural Resource Wales. Map rendering by houseprices.io Creative Commons Attribution Licence CC BY 4.0

Saturday 12 March 2022 from 10:00am-3:00pm
Storey’s Field Centre, Eddington Avenue, Cambridge CB3 1AA
Free parking in Madingley Park & Ride, Madingley Road CB3 0EX

This event has now passed.

Archaeology to garden history:
blurring the boundaries and bringing new light

Our Study Day theme, inspired by the late Christopher Taylor, will include the impact of archaeological methods on elucidating Garden History. We are sure you will enjoy lively discussion with our eminent speakers and relax over a buffet lunch with speakers, members and guests. Full details may be downloaded by clicking here.

Provisional Programme

Prof. Susan Oosthuizen

Dr Twigs Way
Bridget Flanagan
Liz Whittle
Alison Moller

Tribute to Christopher Taylor:
the contribution of archaeology
Archaeology of Belhus Tudor Gardens, Essex
Lancelot Brown, a reputation restored
The 17C Tackley Water Garden
Harold Peto, garden designer

Members £25, Non-members £30, to include coffee and a light lunch

If possible, please pay by BACS transfer to Cambridgeshire County Gardens Trust,
sort code 20-29-68 a/c 30347639, quoting your name as reference. If necessary, cheques payable to Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust may be sent to Jane Sills, The Willows, Ramsey Road, Ramsey Forty Foot PE26 2XN. Email jane.d.sills@gmail.com

Past Events 2021


Date and timeSpeakerTitle
14 January 2021
7:30pm – 8:30pm
Philip Whaites
Richard Gant
Gardener’s Question Time
23 February 2021
7:30pm-8:30pm
Twigs WayRuins in the Landscape
17 March 2021
7:30pm-8:30pm
Alan JamesClimate, environmental and planning challenges to our gardens and parklands
29 April 2021
7:30pm-8:30pm
(Link available from admin)
Pippa & Steve TempleFrom one great plague to another – the history of the superb Euston Hall garden
20 May 2021
7:30pm-8:30pm
(Link available from admin)
Alison MollerThe Garden of Cosmic Speculation
8 July 2021
7:30pm-8:30pm
Mark NewmanMark will talk about the Studley Royal estate, its water features and impact on the river Skel.
23 September 2021
6:30pm-8:30pm
Beverley GloverThe Cambridge Botanic Garden’s unique role in addressing global challenges.
21 October 2021
7:30pm-8:30pm
Tim Richardson Margaret Helme Lecture Tim will reveal the hidden secrets of Cambridge college gardens, drawing upon his recent book.
6 November 2021
12:00noon – 1:00pm
John ParkerGardens of the Western Cape
18 November 2021
7:30pm – 8:30pm
Zoom talk
Gin WarrenCGT Council Member Gin Warren will dig up the history of Ghastly Churchyards and Brave Men in her talk on two Nonconformist cemeteries.
8 December 2021
11:00am – 1:00pm
CGT Christmas Lecture in Kettles Yard, Castle Street, Cambridge CB3 0AQ
Kim WilkieLandscape architect Kim Wilkie will reveal the deep surgery needed to restore the wonderful Garden Ghosts at Villa La Pietra, Florence.

Live Talk: Kim Wilkie

Kim Wilkie is our 2021 Christmas Lecturer, recounting the 10-year restoration of the gardens at Villa La Pietra.

Wednesday 8 December 2021: CGT Christmas Lecture from 11:00am-1:00pm
This event has now passed.

Title Garden Ghosts.

Abstract The restoration of a garden is a brutal business: such was Kim Wilkie’s comment on his 10-year project to restore the gardens of the renaissance Villa La Pietra, outside Florence. The prestigious villa, remodelled by the Capponi family in the 17C, was bought by the Actons in 1907, who altered the 57-acre estate to create a formal Baroque Italian garden with extensive stonework, including almost two hundred statues. The gardens reached their peak in the 1930s and, since then, were left to decay gently. Bequeathed to New York University by Sir Harold Acton in 1994, NYU engaged Kim Wilkie to develop a restoration and maintenance plan for the gardens. Kim’s talk will take us through the deep surgery required to bring the gardens back, while retaining the birds, frogs and ghosts of the place, and give them the vigour to last another century.

Our Speaker After 25 years of running his own practice, Kim Wilkie now works as a strategic and conceptual landscape consultant. He collaborates with architects and landscape architects around the world and combines designing with the muddy practicalities of running a small farm in Hampshire, where he is now based. Kim studied history at Oxford and landscape architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, before setting up his landscape studio in London in 1989. He continues to teach and lecture in America; writes optimistically about land and place from Hampshire, and meddles in various UK national committees on landscape and environmental policy. His current projects are focused on regenerative farming combined with human settlement, both in England and North America

Location Kettles Yard, Castle Street, Cambridge CB3 0AQ. Limited parking is available at Pound Hill; more at Castle Street or Park Street carparks. The Madingley Park and Ride bus stops on Magdalene Street. A lift is available to access the modern lecture room on the third floor.

This Christmas Lecture is open to members of Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust and guests. Seasonal refreshments will be available on arrival until the start of the talk at around 11:45am. Members £12.50; guests £15. The room capacity is 40 people, so please email admin by 1 December and preferably pay by BACS (Cambridgeshire County Garden Trust; sort code 20-29-68, account number 30347639) using your name as reference.

Zoom Talk: Gin Warren

The tomb of Thomas and Ann Drummond in the Rosary Cemetery, Norwich

Thursday 18 November 2021 7:30pm-8:30pm
This event has now passed but a recording is available to CGT members and guests. Please contact admin.

Title Ghastly Churchyards and Brave Men

Abstract This online talk will be about the setting up of two unconsecrated, Nonconformist cemeteries in East Anglia during the first half of the 19th century.

At this time, death – like life – was more straightforward if you were well off, rural and a member of the Church of England. But if you were Nonconformist, the church and state placed constraints on your way of life and how and where you were buried. Most urban churchyards were grossly overcrowded and mismanaged. If you were condemned by penury to live downwind of one and obliged to use its parish pump, even Baldrick wouldn’t swop places with you. The water from one Norwich parish pump was described as “almost pure essence of churchyard”.

Step in the determined and philanthropic Unitarian minister Thomas Drummond, and the convention-defying Bishop of Norwich Henry Bathurst. These men saw a need to allow Nonconformists to be buried using their own services, in their own cemeteries, and for these places to be gardens, not horror shows.

The 1821 unconsecrated Rosary Cemetery in Norwich is testament to their forward-thinking approach, and an early example of a garden cemetery compatible with Sir Christopher Wren’s widely disregarded suggestions of a century before.

Forward two decades, shift to Cambridge and cross paths with the phenomenal J C Loudon. Brought up Presbyterian in a Scottish tenant farming family, he was a social reformer who gave practical expression to his philosophical and political views through garden and landscape design and practice, architecture and education. As well as publishing prodigiously on these topics, this remarkable man made a fortune and lost it, married a science fiction writer, and coped with severe ill health and an amputation.

When Cambridge Nonconformists wanted their own cemetery, it was apt that they should commission him – and utterly typical that he should make Histon Road Cemetery a centrepiece exemplar of his 1843 book On the Laying Out, Planting, and Managing of Cemeteries and on the Improvement of Churchyards

Our Speaker Gin Warren not only qualified from Addenbrooke’s and worked as a doctor in East Anglia and London but she has also gained her Garden History Diploma from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, thereby developing into a J C Loudon enthusiast. She enjoys researching and writing about any and all topics, experimenting in her garden (not pretty, but survives the consequences of a claimed lack of green fingers), observing nature while walking her dog, and being a grandmother. Gin is a member of the CGT Council of Management.

Members of Cambridgeshire and Norfolk Gardens Trusts, the Nonconformist congregations of Norwich and Cambridge, and Friends of the two cemeteries are invited to attend. CGT members will be circulated with Zoom joining details automatically. Other guests are invited to register for the talk by email to admin.

Live Talk: John Parker

Prof. John Parker will show stunning examples of Fynbos flowers in his talk following the CGT AGM

Saturday 6 November 2021 12:00 noon – 1:00pm (approx.)
This event has now passed

Title Botanic Gardens of the Western Cape.

Abstract The flowering world is divided into six distinct areas – the Floral Kingdoms. The Cape Floral Kingdom of South Africa is tiny. Here, 9,000 species, mostly endemic, are crowded into an area slightly larger than Scotland, displaying the richest flower show on earth. Habitats in the Cape range from snow-capped peaks to arid plains, with huge families like Asteraceae (‘daisies’) and Aizoaceae (‘succulents’). Incredibly, the genus Erica has exploded into 625 species, startling in red, yellow, pink and white. Four botanic gardens in distinct habitats were founded last century to represent their own superb and remarkable diversity. The first was Kirstenbosch on the slopes of Table Mountain, perhaps the most beautiful of the world’s botanic gardens. Our trip will visit all four.

Our Speaker Prof. John Parker studied botany at Oxford and, following a Readership at Queen Mary College London and a spell heading the Reading University Botany Department, was Director of CU Botanic Garden from 1996 to 2010. At Cambridge, John was also Curator of the University Herbarium and Professor of Plant Cytogenetics, with research interests in evolutionary genetics. A Fellow of Clare Hall, he established the Genetics Garden in 1998 and oversaw the planning of the Sainsbury Laboratory which was officially opened in 2011. John is a long-standing member of CGT and, indeed, a patron, so we are delighted to welcome him back.

Location Fen Drayton Village Hall, Cootes Lane, Fen Drayton CB24 4SL.

This live talk is open to members of Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust and guests. It will follow the CGT AGM which starts at 11:30am. A buffet lunch will be available after the talk. Attendance at the AGM is free but if you wish to stay for the talk and lunch, there is a charge of £10 for members and guests. So that we know numbers for catering, please email admin by 1 November and either pay £10/head by BACS (Cambridgeshire County Garden Trust; sort code 20-29-68, account number 30347639) using your name as reference, or by cash/cheque on the day.