OUR GARDEN VISITS IN 2021
This was a year when at last we could visit gardens we had been planning for some time and great excitement to be allowed finally to meet up outside. Our six visits were to special contrasting gardens, enlightened by the enthusiasm and knowledge of their owners and staff.
May - The Dell, Bucklebury
Our first outing was a wonderful day despite the heavy rain. The Dell is part of the garden created for Bucklebury Place by Arthur Warwick Sutton (1854 – 1925). The fact that the Dell has survived is remarkable. It has developed into a beautiful woodland glade with many of its original features. The owner of the Dell, Tony Billington, led the tour and provided us with tea on the lawn. Our thanks too to Janet Fuller who has carried out extensive research into the gardens.
June - Hampstead Marshall Walks
Over two days two groups discovered the fascinating history of this former medieval deer park with royal connections and which, for many years, was part of the Lord Craven estate. Clive Williams was with us to share his recent research into the Craven family. The 4 hour guided walks, planned by Pipsticks, were completed with a well-deserved lunch in the Red House PH, Benham Marsh.
June - Kirby House, Inkpen
We had a wonderful opportunity to see the gardens of Kirby House, the private residence of the Astor family, hosted by Lady Katherine Astor. The gardens which complement the Grade II” listed house include a walled garden, lily pond garden, formal borders and a terrace designed by Harold Peto (1854 – 1933), the well-known British architect, landscape architect and garden designer. Lady Katherine explained the history of the house, her involvement in the design of the gardens, and gave a wonderful tea on the terrace.
July - Haines Hill, Twyford
Haines Hill is a private residence and family home, hidden by trees deep within the estate, which has been in the ownership of Lucy Zeal and her family for centuries.
We were privileged to join Mr and Mrs Zeal on the first occasion that their garden was opened to guests, with 12 acres of formal gardens, including some stunning herbaceous borders, and a newly developed kitchen garden. Lucy explained the history of the house and her mother’s involvement in the gardens and gave a wonderful tea on the terrace.
August - Waltham Place, Maidenhead
Waltham Place is the private residence of Nicky and Strilli Oppenheimer who generously arrange guided tours of their unique gardens. Impressive old trees form the background to the naturalistic plantings influenced by the Dutch designer, Henk Gerritsen. Enlightening talks and tours by the gardeners were followed by a sit-down tea in the barn.
September - Crockmore House, Fawley, Henley-on-Thames
We rounded off the year with another contrast visiting this modern garden designed in 1999 by Christopher Bradley-Hole and planted in 2000 by Julia Kirkham, owner and a garden designer in her own right. Julia gave us a in depth talk on the history and her ongoing changes to the garden. We enjoyed the garden, known for its sweeping beds of grasses and perennials, with accents of roses and other plantings, followed by tea on the terrace.
We look forward to seeing everyone at our garden visits when we restart them in May 2022.
Bettina Kirkham, Chair