The Trust organises
a full programme of events. Lectures are held during the winter
months. In the spring and summer there are outings to gardens, some
of which are not normally open to the public.
2017 WINTER LECTURES
Please note that the venue of the winter lectures has been changed to the Abraham Dixon Hall at the Letherhead Institute.
Saturday 21 January
The secret gardens of London by Colin Jones, a gardener, photographer and traveller. He describes London as the greenest city in the world with 600 public parks and gardens covering 67 square miles and the world’s greatest botanic collection at Kew. His lecture will cover the history of many of these gardens including The Museum of Garden History and the secret gardens within the precincts of Westminster Abbey.
Saturday 18 February
Patent elms, pineapples and pears – nursery gardening in West London 1650-1800 by Val Bott, who runs the website nurserygardeners.com where she shares her research into the heyday of nursery gardening in the parishes along the Thames. Garden grounds were well located for river and road transport and this community of gardeners shared their expertise and were linked by ties of business and marriage. As London grew most nurseries became market gardens, supplying food rather than plants, until they disappeared under new suburban housing.
Saturday 18 March
A neglected masterpiece rediscovered: the work of BEEH by Beryl Saich. On a visit to the RHS Lindley Library, Beryl Saich was shown a beautiful, magnificent three volume work of the history and bibliography of botany and gardening literature up to 1800 by Blanche Elizabeth Edith Henrey. Intrigued by its quality, she set out to discover more about it and its author.
2017 SUMMER VISITS
Tuesday 6 June
Morning visit with a talk and guided tour by the head gardener to Barnett Hill, Blackheath Lane, Guildford. Built in 1905 by Frank Cook, grandson of the travel agent, Thomas Cook, and positioned on a hilltop location overlooking lush Surrey countryside, Barnett Hill has 26 acres of landscaped gardens with terraces, formal areas and extensive herbaceous borders. After a colourful history, including occupation by the Red Cross during the war, the property is now a hotel and conference centre. The gardens have extensive formal lawns contained by beautifully clipped yew hedges, areas of Yorkstone paving and numerous original outbuildings including greenhouses, a tea house, and Wendy house. Planted areas include the impressive long borders and many smaller garden ‘rooms’ including a gravel garden with ornamental grasses, a tropical garden, a pond garden with borders of fragrant Comte de Chambord roses, and quirky ‘50p’ borders displaying seasonal bedding plants.
Tuesday 6 June
Afternoon visit to Chinthurst Lodge, Wonersh, with a brief talk by the owner. This is a beautifully structured and immaculately maintained garden of just over an acre. Surrounded by fields, with views towards Chinthurst Hill, the garden is enhanced by its atmospheric rural setting. The core of the property dates back to 1745 when it was part of a larger country house that was divided in 1952. Acquired in 1988 by the current owners, the bones of the garden were largely in place. Over the years, the owners have developed the plot into a series of ‘rooms’ including a kitchen garden, white garden, a Millennium garden with pond and box parterre. The laburnum walk and small herb garden were inspired by Rosemary Verey’s designs.
Thursday 22 June
Afternoon visit to Loseley Park, Guildford, with guided tours of the house and garden and afternoon tea. Loseley was built during the reign of Elizabeth I and stands in ancient Surrey parkland with stunning views towards the North Downs. It remains the home of the More-Molyneux family and is relatively unchanged since 1562 when it was first built. The house contains fine works of art, exquisite panelling from Henry VIII’s Nonsuch Palace and a room where Elizabeth I slept on her visit. In addition, the elegant 2.5 acre walled garden, based on a design by Gertrude Jekyll, contains an assortment of well-designed rooms, a vine walk, a huge spread of wisteria, a moat and moat walk and an extremely old mulberry tree. The award-winning rose garden has over 1,000 bushes including many old fashioned varieties. There is a flower garden always awash with vivid colours and a stunning white garden as well as a herb garden and organic vegetable garden.
Tuesday 11 July
All day visit to West Dean Gardens, near Chichester, with a guided tour by the head gardener. Restoration of the gardens at West Dean by Gardens Manager Jim Buckland and Gardens Supervisor Sarah Wain commenced after the great storm of 1987. Their bold re-development programme was designed to bring the nineteenth-century gardens into the twenty-first century. The 90 acres of grounds have been divided into four distinct areas: the gardens entrance; the walled kitchen garden; the pleasure grounds and the 49-acre St Roche’s Arboretum. The garden dates back to 1622 when the original manor house was built by James Lewkenor. In 1804, when the current house was built, the gardens were enlarged and the park was laid out, with the kitchen garden moved to its present position and enclosed by walls. The estate contains numerous mature beeches, limes, horse chestnuts, planes and cedars from this period and the present layout owes much to their planting. Subsequent owners have continued to develop the gardens, including William James, who rebuilt and extended the glasshouses in the walled kitchen garden, constructed the impressive 300 foot long pergola (designed by Harold Peto) on the north lawn and extensively planted the grounds and arboretum. The garden did fall into decline when William’s son, Edward James, inherited the estate, as he lived abroad for long periods. The walled kitchen garden with its restored glasshouses, immaculate fruit orchard, bountiful vegetable garden and cutting flower garden is impressive.
Wednesday 26 July
Morning visit to Garden Museum, Lambeth, with a talk and tour by the Director Christopher Woodward and the Curator Emma House. The Garden Museum was established in 1977, rescuing the ancient church of St Mary’s from demolition. The remains of John Tradescant (circa 1570-1638), the first great gardener and plant-hunter in British history are buried here. The Museum is currently undergoing a £7.5 million redevelopment project, repening in early April. The Museum hosts three exhibitions each year exploring the making of British gardens, and a programme of talks and interviews. Visitors can also see a permanent display of paintings, tools, ephemera and historic artefacts as well as the newly designed gardens. The centrepiece of their main exhibition will be The Tradescent’s Orchard, a seventeenth-century volume of 66 watercolours of various fruit varieties. This volume is one of Bodleian Library’s finest treasures and has never been on loan outside Oxford! The volume is thought to have been produced by Hester Tradescant (née Pooks) as a practical document to be used to record size, colour, texture of fruit and ripening dates, and depicts cherries, plums, damsons, apricots, nectarines, peaches, pears, grapes and single varieties of strawberry, gooseberry, date, quince and hazelnut. The fruits are accompanied by charming depictions of googly-eyed birds and insects. This unique record of fruits is complemented by botanical watercolours of fruit painted by forty of the world’s leading botanical painters, including Caroline Barber and Sally Strawson. In addition, the Garden Museum, in collaboration with the Ashmolean Museum, will display a quasi-recreation of the Tradescant ‘Ark’.
Wednesday 9 August
Afternoon visit to Englefield House, Englefield, Berkshire, with a guided tour by the Head Gardener. There is an inscription on a stone staircase in the garden which reads, ‘If you help towards Englefield garden either in flowers or invention you shall be welcome thither’ written in a letter in 1601 and demonstrates that a garden at Englefield was being planned four hundred years ago. The house has remained in the Paulet family since 1635, is listed Grade II* and the superb gardens are Grade II listed on the Historic Parks & Gardens Register. The country house is surrounded by nineteenth- and twentieth-century formal and woodland gardens within an eighteenth- and nineteenth-century landscape park, set in the estate’s extensive woodlands. Of note are the 1850’s stone balustrades and staircases; much original planting is still in place and this includes varieties of rhododendron, azalea, camellia, magnolia, hamamelis, parrotia, cornus, davidia and acer. Recent features include; the ivy house, the grotto with its fir cone-studded interior, the bear, the round pebble garden, a yellow and blue garden enclosed in clipped yew, the kitchen garden plus a fountain and rill. The views out to the countryside are spectacular.
SURREY GARDENS TRUST AGM & CHRISTMAS PARTY
Saturday 9 December 2017
Our AGM will be held at 11.30 am at the Old Barn Hall, Great Bookham. This is an important annual meeting which gives members the opportunity to learn what the Trust has been doing during the year.
These are some of the gardens visited by SGT in past years:
Albury Park, Ashtead Park, Bagshot Park, Busbridge Lakes, Claremont, Greathed Manor, Great Fosters, Hascombe Court, Gatton Park, Munstead Wood, Painshill Park, Reigate Priory, Sutton Place, Titsey Place, Vann and Wisley RHS Garden
Alderbrook, Barnett Hill, Betchworth House, Great Tangley Manor, the Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden, Nutfield Priory, Rake Manor and many others
Essex (Audley End), Hampshire (The Gallery Garden at Broughton, Mottisfont Abbey and Marshcourt at Stockbridge), Isle of Wight (Osborne House), Kent (Godmersham Park and Goodnestone Park), Oxfordshire (Haseley Court and the Manor House, Bledlow), Somerset (Hestercombe) and Eltham Palace, South London