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

Hampshire Gardens Trust have just published their Autumn 2021 Newsletter, filled with interesting items of news, educational outreach and events. They have also announced a new president – download the newsletter to find out who it is!

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 page.

Gardens Trust Historic Landscapes Assembly

Tickets are now available for the Gardens Trust’s annual Historic Landscapes Assembly, which will take place online, during three ‘Assembly Afternoons’ on 15th, 17th and 19th November. There is an excellent line-up, with speakers from the GT, county gardens trusts and from national organisations across the historic landscapes sector.
The Assembly is a not-to-be-missed forum for anyone – volunteer, researcher, owner or professional – with an interest in the history, enjoyment and conservation of our fantastic historic parks, gardens and other designed landscapes.
Tickets, which cover all three sessions, are free for GT and CGT members, and only £5 for non-members. Please follow this EventBrite link to find out more or to book a place.

RHS Workshop on Loyal Johnson and his diaries

Loyal Johnson (1905-1999), an American horticultural student, visited Britain in 1928 with his friend Sam Brewster. Together they undertook a three-month tour of English, Welsh and Scottish gardens, covering 1500 miles on bicycles (see above). In total the young men visited around 70 gardens, including Munstead Wood where Gertrude Jekyll was in residence, Gravetye Manor with garden paths adapted for William Robinson’s wheelchair, Great Dixter where they were reprimanded by Nathaniel Lloyd before giving them a guided tour, Aldenham House, Chatsworth, Levens Hall, Blickling, Hestercombe House, Hoar Cross House, Compton Wynyates, Blenheim Palace, the Sutton Nursery Company at Reading and many others. Loyal kept a detailed diary of the trip in three volumes, describing the gardens they visited, places they stayed and people they met, creating a historical and social record of inter-war Britain and its gardens.

Johnson’s diaries and photograph albums were donated by his son Marshall to the RHS Lindley Library in 2015 and are the subject of an online exhibition project by RHS Libraries. The first part took place on 20 October 2021 with an introduction to the diaries presented by Fiona Davison, Head of RHS Libraries, and a recording of the fascinating material can be accessed at this YouTube link.

RHS Libraries seeks to engage the county Gardens Trusts in a joint project to feature the gardens visited by Johnson on their websites. If anyone would like to know more, there is a workshop hosted by Fiona Davison on Monday 8 November 2021 from 11:00-12:30. Registration is free and can be made via this EventBrite link.

Wednesdays from 3 November 2021 at 7:00pmUnforgettable Gardens
A series of 4 weekly online talks in partnership with Northamptionshire GT featuring four stunning gardens in Northants. Tickets £5 each or all 4 for £16. The gardens presented are:
3 November: Kirby Hall
10 November: Holdenby House
17 November: Apethorpe Palace
24 November: Boughton House

Those with international or Asia-Pacific interests may like to pick up the remainder of a series of seven online talks organised by the Gardens Trust in partnership with the Japanese Garden Society, starting at 6:30pm but with varied dates from 23 October 2021 to 9 December 2021; £5 each or £28 for all 7.

23 October: Japanese-style Gardens in the British Isles
28 October: Key elements of Japanese Gardens
5 November: Therapeutic Landscapes of Japanese Gardens
11 November: A Ripple Effect
25 November: Modern Japanese Gardens in Japan
3 December: Islands of Peace
9 December: Tokachi Millennium Forest

Plant Nurseries, Hunters & Pioneers

Researched and authored by John Drake, our late former chair, CGT published in 2008 Wood and Ingram: A Huntingdonshire Nursery 1742-1950. If you found this a must-have history then you should not miss the rest of a series of seven Gardens Trust talks covering the theme of Plant Nurseries, Hunters & Pioneers. On Mondays in November and December, starting at 6:00pm, the titles are:

1 November: George London and the Brompton Park Nursery
8 November: The Greenings of Brentford End – Georgian Royal Gardeners
15 November: Supplying the ‘Nobility and Gentry’ and the ‘Floral Public’: The Norwich Nurserymen and the Provincial Nursery Industry, c.1750-1860
22 November: The Nursery of the Armstrong Family of Hampshire
29 November: Daniel Grimwood of Kensington and the Great Geranium Robbery
6 December: Thomas Backhouse, Brother of the More Famous James: The Early Years (1815-1854) of the Backhouse Nursery, York
13 December: Caldwell’s Plants and People

Talks cost £5 each or all 7 for £28.

Institute of Historical Research
Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Day & Time: Thursdays at 6:00pm
Room: via Zoom

Conversations across continents:
The movement of garden ideas, styles and plants across the globe

7 October        Dr Sebestian Kroupa, King’s College London. Georg Joseph Kamel SJ (1661–1706): Natural and Medical Knowledge in Transit Between the Philippines and Europe

21 October      Mireia Alcantara Rodriguez, University of Leiden. Plant knowledge depicted: Botanical identifications of seventeenth-century illustrations of Dutch Brazil

4 November    Dr Christopher Pastore, University of Pennsylvania. The Venetian interest in Moorish Spain and its impact on sixteenth-century Italian gardens

18 November  Dr Greg Missingham, University of Melbourne. Numbers of Paper Gardens: Notes on Western Attitudes to Chinese Gardens since 1860

2 December     Dr Luke Schoppler (independent scholar). British ‘Japan Gardens’ and Japanese ‘Western-style’: Cultural exchange between Meiji-era Japan and Victorian/ Edwardian Britain (1850-1914)

16 December   Dr Christian Tagsold, University of Dusseldorf. Turning Gardens in Japan into Japanese Gardens: Nation, Nature, Heritage and Modernity since 1890

The seminars are free and open to all

Flower show 1909, Hinxton Hall, Cambridgeshire Collection, Cambridge Central Library

A Series of Talks on the History of Hinxton Hall Estate

Wellcome Connecting Science, a part of the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton, is arranging a series of talks on the history of the Hinxton Hall Estate. The event, held in conjunction with Open Cambridge and Heritage Open Days, will bring together Georgians, jet engines and genes in a series of three online talks over autumn 2021 celebrating the launch of a new exhibition on the history of Hinxton Hall. Research by Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust has provided background material for the first talk, which will also involve our former chair, Dr Twigs Way.

The talks, which are free to join, are:
15 September 2021, 18:00-19:30. Hidden Heritage and Home Grown Veg
20 October 2021, 18:00-19:30. Engineering our Future
24 November 2021, 18:00-19:30. DNA and Discovery

Further details and information on registering for the talks can be found at this link.

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.