Zoom Lecture Season 2021

As we emerge from the third lockdown, we continue the successful Zoom lecture programme that we launched in Autumn 2020. CGT is delighted to offer members and guests an opportunity to participate in a series of excellent talks and events. A few days before each event, 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. 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.

Date and timeSpeakerTitle
14 January 2021
7:30pm – 8:30pm
Past Event
Philip Whaites
Richard Gant
Gardener’s Question Time
23 February 2021
Past Event
Twigs WayRuins in the Landscape
17 March 2021
Past Event
Alan JamesClimate, environmental and planning challenges to our gardens and parklands
29 April 2021
Past Event
(Link available)
Pippa & Steve TempleFrom one great plague to another – the history of the superb Euston Hall garden
20 May 2021
Past Event
(Link available)
Alison MollerThe Garden of Cosmic Speculation
8 July 2021
Mark NewmanMark will talk about the Studley Royal estate, its water features and impact on the river Skel. Details to follow.
16 September 2021
Beverly GloverThe Cambridge Botanic Garden’s unique role in addressing global challenges. Details to follow.
21 October 2021
Tim Richardson Margaret Helme Lecture Tim will talk about Cambridge college gardens, drawing upon his recent book. Details to follow.

ZOOM Event: Gardeners’ Question Time

Thursday 14 January 2021 7:30pm-8:30pm
An informal evening to pick the gardening brains of our new Life Members
Please send your queries in advance to admin@cambridgeshiregardenstrust.org.uk
This event has now passed but you can download the list of species
suggested by Philip and Richard from here

Title Gardeners’ Question Time

Summary Philip Whaites (left) and Richard Gant (right) have kindly offered to share the benefits of their experience as Head Gardeners at two of our most important Brown landscapes at Wimpole Hall and Madingley Hall respectively. Do you have a question that you would like to put to them? It doesn’t matter whether you want to know the best planting scheme for ornamental urns, or how to deal with thugs in your backyard – this is your chance to challenge the experts! Please send your query by email, prior to the event, to admin@cambridgeshiregardenstrust.org.uk You will be invited by our compere and chair, Liz Whittle, to put your question to our illustrious panel on the evening.

Our Panellists Having started out as a motor engineer, Philip Whaites began his gardening career in 1972, attending Lancashire College of Agriculture while working in a local parks department. He joined the National Trust as Gardener in Charge at Gawthorpe Hall and restored part of the gardens, designed by Sir Charles Barry. Philip joined Wimpole Hall as Assistant Gardener in August 1981 and became Head Gardener in 1987. Since then Philip has recreated many of Wimpole’s features, enabled by successful funding applications and many volunteers. Now retired, Philip is a volunteer gardener at The Susan Countess of Hardwick Almshouses and a Trustee of Ramsey Walled Garden. He is also collection coordinator for Cambridgeshire at Plant Heritage.

Richard Gant joined the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education at Madingley Hall in 1988 and, as a formidable plantsman and all round horticulturalist, he has overseen many changes and developments to the garden since then. The glory and beauty of the garden is testament to his hard work and dedication over the years, which have seen Madingley Hall host a number of CGT events, including the 2020 social evening in September. Both Richard’s and Philip’s contributions to their landscapes and their support for CGT over the years were recognised through the award of CGT Life Membership to each of them.

Further biographical details on our panellists can be found in the November 2020 newsletter on pp3-4.

ZOOM Talk: Twigs Way

Left: print of the south side view of the Ruins at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew,
with the Temple of Aeolus in the background by Woollett and Kirby, c1763.

Tuesday 23 February 2021 7:30pm-8:30pm
General notes on installing and using Zoom can be found here.
This event has now passed.

Title Ruins in the Landscape

Abstract From hermitages to ruined abbeys, headless statues to wellheads, we scatter ruins through our gardens and designed landscapes. The Romans were the first to incorporate ruins in gardens and now we create gardens around Roman ruins. But what is the fascination with incorporating the old in the new? Why should ancient cultures rise again amongst the flowerbeds and verdant green lawns? This illustrated talk will consider the history and role of ruins in garden design.

Our Speaker Dr Twigs Way, previous Chair of CGT, has worked in historic landscapes for over twenty years, from medieval parks to gardens and landscapes of all periods. At present she blends lecturing, research, writing, publishing, crafting landscape management plans, visiting historic sites, and the history of female gardeners. She relaxes by weeding her own garden, sometimes with a mattock…

ZOOM Talk: Alan James

Cattle in the Ouse by Michael Monk.

Wedesday 17 March 2021 7:30pm-8:30pm
General notes on installing and using Zoom can be found here.
This event has now passed but a pdf file of selected images and links from Alan’s talk can be downloaded by clicking this link.

Title Climate, environmental and planning challenges to our gardens and parklands

Abstract The Great Ouse Valley, between Earith and Huntingdon, faces challenges from development, as government seeks to build and house a technology hub in the arc encompassing Oxford, Cambridge and London, and from climate change resulting in increasingly frequent summers of drought and winters of flood. Local organisations are responding to these challenges in seeking to protect the valley with AONB status. However, these issues affect the whole of the county. Dr Alan James, chair of the local branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) will introduce CPRE with a little about its history and current activities. He will cover the impact of climate change on the Ouse Valley and across the county and how some planning decisions and policies are adding to these effects. It was that great lady from Wisbech, Octavia Hill, who first coined the term “green belt”. We need to build upon that heritage and ensure that our green spaces, be they formal, informal or crop-growing fields, continue to protect species and to mitigate/reduce climate change. Finally, Alan will highlight CPRE campaigns and activities that seek to alleviate or avoid such impacts.

Our Speaker From a family of London firefighters turned smallholders and farmers, Alan James complemented his material science degree and a PhD in electro-optic ceramics at Sheffield with the RHS General Examination in Horticulture. A career in telecoms research and IT led to Fisons at Hauxton, and thence to two start-up IT companies which continue to flourish. Now based in Haddenham, James joined CPRE after the success of the nearby Mereham public enquiry in 2008. A decade later he became chair of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough branch to which he brings his particular interests of the impacts of environmental and climate change on the region’s unique landscapes and communities.

ZOOM Talk: Pippa & Steve Temple

Left: Steve and Pippa Temple’s restoration of Impington Mill. Right: the watermill at Euston Hall.

Thursday 29 April 2021 7:30pm-8:30pm
General notes on installing and using Zoom can be found here.
This event has now passed but a link to a recording of the talk is available on application to: admin@cambridgeshiregardenstrust.org.uk.

Title From one great plague to another – the history of the superb Euston Hall garden

Abstract In August 2020, when the pandemic rules were relaxed, CGT members were kindly offered the opportunity of wandering around the glorious garden of Euston Hall in Suffolk.  We were given the place to ourselves for three hours; maps of the grounds were left on a table by the entrance and we were permitted to picnic in the grounds. Out of a beautiful summer came one day of mist, murk and drizzle – the silence was palpable, as it must have been in the days of the Great Plague of 1665, when the Hall was first built and the gardens begun.
Walk in the steps of John Evelyn, William Kent, Capability Brown – and a mystery individual – a man who was to engineer the water features in that showcase of C17 gardens, Versailles.

Our Speakers Steve is an engineer by background, an inventor by profession and the vice-Chairman of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) Windmill and Watermill Section – thus explaining his interest in the fascinating watermill at Euston Hall.  Pippa’s primary research was into 1903’s French parliamentary history; she lectured in French, Russian and European History before retiring, and is now free to indulge her passion for garden history. Inevitably the French connection will figure in the talk.

ZOOM Talk: Alison Moller

Two intriguing images from the Garden of Cosmic Speculation, taken by Alison Moller’s husband Tosh. Zoom in on 20 May to find out what they mean!

Thursday 20 May 2021 7:30pm-8:30pm
General notes on installing and using Zoom can be found here.
Connection details will be circulated to members two days before the event.
Guests are welcome and can register at admin@cambridgeshiregardenstrust.org.uk to receive the link, which is free to members of the Gardens Trust or county Gardens Trusts.

Title The Garden of Cosmic Speculation

Abstract CGT member Alison Moller will explore the background, influences and meaning of The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, near Dumfries in southern Scotland. This important 20th/21st century garden was laid out in a 30-acre landscape by Charles Jencks. The garden, inspired by modern cosmology, is private and open to the public for only one day a year, but Alison was given rare access to explore it with her husband who took the photographs that illustrate this talk.

Our Speaker Alison Moller has an MA in Garden and Landscape History from the Institute of Historical Research and is an active researcher and educator. She is a member of Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Essex Gardens Trusts, for whom she has been running an Introduction to Garden History course over the past two years, under the GT umbrella. If that wasn’t enough, Alison is a professional Wine Educator, in which role she arranged the champagne reception at Fenstanton Church Centre in 2016 as part of the CGT Brown Tercentenary celebrations.

Zoom Lecture Season 2020

Following quiet months enforced by lockdown, CGT is delighted to offer members and guests an opportunity to hear a series of excellent talks covering an eclectic mix of topics. These will be streamed live on-line using Zoom and details explaining how to install and operate Zoom can be found by clicking this link. An invitation mail will be sent out enabling you to participate from the comfort and bio-security of your own home. A brief calendar of talks follows below with links (where active) to further information on each lecture. We hope you will join us for these lectures, for which there is no charge, and that you will find them stimulating and enjoyable.

Date and timeSpeakerTitle
16 September 2020
7:30pm – 8:30pm
Past event
Sue Stuart-SmithGardening for the mind
15 October 2020
Margaret Helme
Inaugural Lecture
Past event
Tom WilliamsonNew light on Repton: unlocking a system of landscape design
7 November 2020
(in AGM programme)
Past event
David MarshGarden history in the making? The story of my garden.
10 December 2020
Christmas Lecture
Past event
Gillian HovellHow Roman garden design changed gardens forever and provided the seeds for our modern garden design

ZOOM Talk: Sue Stuart-Smith

Wednesday 16 September 2020 7:30pm-8:30pm
This event has now passed. Please contact admin@cambridgeshiregardenstrust.org for access to the YouTube recording, available for two weeks from broadcast.

Title Gardening for the Mind

Abstract Combining contemporary neuroscience, psychoanalysis and compelling real-life stories, Sue Stuart-Smith will explain the remarkable effects that nature can have on our health and wellbeing and how vital gardening can be, both as an escape for the brain and to help our minds through movement as well as thought.

Our Speaker Sue Stuart-Smith is a psychiatrist, psychotherapist and author of The Well Gardened Mind, a Sunday Times bestseller. She studied English Literature at the University of Cambridge before qualifying as a doctor and working in the National Health Service for many years, becoming the lead clinician for psychotherapy in Hertfordshire. She currently teaches at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London and is a consultant at DocHealth, a not for profit, psychotherapeutic consultation service for doctors. She is married to Tom Stuart-Smith, the celebrated garden designer, and, over thirty years together, they have created the wonderful Barn Garden in Hertfordshire.

ZOOM Talk: Tom Williamson

Thursday 15 October 2020 7:30pm-8:30pm
The inaugural Margaret Helme Memorial Lecture
This event has now passed. Please contact admin@cambridgeshiregardenstrust.org for access to the YouTube recording, available for two weeks from broadcast.

Title New light on Repton: unlocking a system of landscape design

Abstract Humphry Repton is often characterized as a rather practical designer of gardens and parks, rather than as someone who thought in abstract terms about landscapes, or who developed any very rigorous and systematic approach to their creation or modification. But his overall approach to landscape was rooted in theory. His stated ambition was to ‘establish fixed principles in the art of laying out ground’. This lecture will explore those principles; how they operated in practice; and what they tell us about Repton and his world.

Our Speaker Tom Williamson is Professor of Landscape History at the University of East Anglia and has written extensively on landscape archaeology, environmental history, and the history of landscape design. His books on garden history include: Polite Landscapes: Gardens and Society in Eighteenth-Century England (1995); The Archaeology of the Landscape Park (1998); and Lancelot Brown and the Capability Men (2016). His latest book, Humphry Repton: Landscape Design in an Age of Revolution, will be published by Reaktion Books in October 2020.

Zoom Talk: David Marsh

Saturday 7 November 2020 12:00noon-1:00pm
Follows the AGM, starting at 11:30am
Event now closed

Title Garden history in the making? The story of my garden.

Abstract My partner and I have had a house in France for around 25 years, and for the last 10 have lived there for about half the year. We moved house in 2006, buying a rambling ruin with mediaeval foundations, two overgrown fields and a lake.

Since then we have been designing, clearing and planting a garden of about five acres. Almost everything, apart from the hedging and some of the trees, is home grown from seed or cuttings, and this is the story of how it was done… and how our French friends, neighbours and the local press reacted! The garden was opened to the public for the first time in 2015.

Our Speaker After a career in teaching and ending up as a head teacher in inner London, Dr David Marsh took early retirement to go back into full-time education on his own account. He took a four-year diploma course in Garden History that led to an MA in Historical Research at Birkbeck College, University of London in 1999 and went straight on to do a PhD on The Gardens and Gardeners of Later Stuart London. David taught at Birkbeck in the Faculty of Continuing Education, on the history of London, and archival research. He now works with a small group of colleagues organizing and teaching courses about garden history at City Lit in central London and independently at the Institute of Historical Research.

David is a trustee of The Gardens Trust, co-chairs their education and events committee and writes a weekly blog for them which you can find at thegardenstrust.blog.