News From The Borders

Artwork courtesy of Julia Weaver
Artwork courtesy of Julia Weaver

What’s going on elsewhere in Cambridgeshire, the Gardens Trust or neighbouring county Trusts

If you know of an event or activity that you think may be of interest, please contact

		Ian Hamilton Finlay’s  ‘Improvement Garden’ at Stockwood Park, Luton image

Forthcoming Essex Gardens Trust talks include:

Saturday 17th April at 10:30amUniversity of Oxford Botanic Garden – 400 years of gardening and botany. A talk by Timothy Walker, former Director of The University of Oxford Botanic Garden & Harcourt Arboretum, jointly organised by Essex Gardens Trust and The Gardens Trust.

Oxford can lay claim to the oldest botanic garden in Britain, now in its 400th year. Since 1621, the Oxford Botanic Garden has stood on the banks of the River Cherwell in the centre of Oxford. It has evolved from a collection of medicinal herbs for seventeenth century physicians into the most compact, diverse collection of plants in the world, where 4,500 species can be seen in its 4½ acres, which support teaching and research at Oxford and beyond. This glorious garden is surrounded by a high stone wall, set off by a lovely gateway, and within which there are many ornamental trees and shrubs as well as rectangular ‘order’ beds and a wealth of other features. Tickets £5 available here. The talk will be available until 24 April 2021 to subscribers who book tickets prior to the event.

The Gardens Trust offers a wide variety of talks and events. Please see their events webpage for full details. Information on Gardens Trust training courses that cover Conservation and Plannning can be found on our Planning Resources and Planning Webinars pages.

Forthcoming Gardens Trust talks include:

Tuesday 6 April 2021 at 10:00Garden Archaeology A series of 5 weekly online talks exploring current archaeology with a 17th century bias, organised by The Gardens Trust. Tickets £5 each or all 5 for £20.

Wednesday 7 April 2021 at 19:00Unforgettable Gardens A series of 4 weekly online talks featuring important Welsh gardens, presented by The Gardens Trust in association with Welsh Historic Gardens Trust. Tickets £5 each or all 4 for £16. The gardens presented are:
Week 1. 7 April. Hafod
Week 2. 14 April. Plas Cadnant
Week 3. 21 April. Aberglasney
Week 4. 28 April. National Botanic Garden of Wales

Two New Books From Twigs Way

CGT former chair, Dr Twigs Way, has been busy during the pandemic and has published two new books in close succession in good time for Christmas stockings.

The first is by Reaktion Books in their botanical flower series and is simply entitled Chrysanthemum. In it, Twigs follows the fortunes of the flower through philosophy, art, literature and death, recounting the stories of the men and women who became captivated by it. With a range of vibrant illustrations, including works by Hiroshige, Monet and Mondrian, it will appeal to lovers of art, flowers, history and culture.

Hardback, 216 pages, 90 illustrations, 78 in colour, ISBN 9781789142051: £16. Also available from other booksellers and online retailers.

Chrysanthemum by Twigs Way

The second is by Amberley Books and entitled Suburban Gardens. Most of us garden in suburbia: a private paradise encompassed by privet, the suburban garden contains the hopes and dreams of millions of gardeners past and present. From Victorian shrubberies to the 1980s ‘Good Life’, these small plots reveal the ever-changing aspirations and realities of the suburban dweller. Lauded by estate agents and satirised in literature, suburban plots are scattered with seating, sundials, goldfish ponds, and that most divisive of features: the overgrown hedge. With one foot in the country and one in the town, suburban garden style wavers from rural retreat to urban chic, decorative to productive, floral to formal. At its heart it is defined by its location and its size. Neglected by history, and sometimes in reality, this book celebrates the gardens that make up the green patchwork of suburbia.

Suburban Gardens by Twigs Way

Paperback, 64 pages, 80 illustrations, ISBN 9781445683263: £8.09 limited duration offer. Also available from other booksellers and online retailers.

Gin Warren writes: fun for gardeners and others who love nature and enjoy stitching!

Despite what their website may say, the National Trust Textile Conservators are back from furlough and are once again inviting needlepeople to contact them to take part in a project to celebrate 125 years of the NT – Quick, Quick, Slow: The Therapeutic Nature of Stitch.

They want to create a wallhanging which reflects people’s feelings, emotions and interests whether from nature, NT collections, or an individual’s personal experience of life. They say it will be a voyage of discovery for us all, and they hope we enjoy the slow, rhythmic and incremental nature of stitching which enhances wellbeing and will contribute to an amazing work of art.

People should write to The Textile Conservation Studio, QQS, Malthouse Barn, Oulton Street, Norfolk, NR11 6AF to say they want to stitch a square. They’ll receive an off-cut of the Studio’s tapestry support fabric to use for their work. Each person’s design should be 4” x 4” and will form part of a trellis design. They’ve chosen a mottled dark blue for the grid as this echoes the outer edge borders on many tapestries.

Allium Ampeloprasum babingtonii
Gin Warren’s ambiguous embroidery

I got my square just before lockdown. I was inspired by the crewel wool embroideries done jointly by Bess of Hardwick and Mary, Queen of Scots (who, admittedly would almost certainly rather have been somewhere else, doing something else!) at Hardwick Hall.  They are now on one of the beds at Oxburgh Hall. My crewel design is very much of 2020, however, and deliberately ambiguous. It might be a bulbil head on one of the Babington Leeks (Allium ampeloprasum var. babingtonii) in my perennial vegetable beds, and the colouring supports this. Or, there again, it might be the virus which causes Covid-19: the French knots suggest the proteins on the viral surface. In the spirit of Hardwick and Oxburgh, I worked it at The Ancient House in Clare and Freston Tower, both in Suffolk, on the two short breaks which have been our holiday this year. Yes! that is the Orwell Bridge you can see in the background. Sitting on the leads, stitching was unforgettable.