Visiting Essex Gardens
The aim of the group is to visit some of the many beautiful and/or interesting public or private gardens of Essex with some visits exclusive to the group. Visiting Essex Gardens will shortly be celebrating its first anniversary and over the past year has visited a wide variety of gardens, all beautiful and well tended. Terry puts an enormous amount of effort into choosing gardens and arranging the visits. He had one disappointment during the year when he was badly let down at the last minute by Writtle College; this was to be a Sunday visit and lunch had been arranged nearby. However Terry found a garden that would be open that day under one of the garden open schemes and recommended that the members visit that independently.
The group’s first visit was in April 2015 to South Shoebury Hall, several days before its official opening to the public. It was a warm spring afternoon and they found themselves amongst a multitude of flowers (including 3000 tulips), shrubs and multi coloured trees. The owner of the Hall, Michael Dedman, gave the group a short talk outlining details of the 15th century house and the garden and then the group wandered through the garden where they wished. Later, on the terrace, tea and homemade cakes were served. What a wonderful first visit for the group.
The following months saw visits to the lovely gardens of Furzelea and Elwy Lodge and then Feeringbury Manor with its delightful water features and secluded rest areas. Occasionally the group joins others as they did in September when they went with the WI to Beth Chatto’s Gardens and Perrywoods. In October the group did visit Writtle College and if the gardens were not at their most attractive the colour and variety of their trees were spectacular.
Terry said that throughout the year they had been lucky with the weather and the owners of the gardens had been helpful, friendly and informative and their homemade cakes delicious.
Normally members travel to the gardens in shared private cars for which a contribution towards fuel cost is expected. Often the owner of the garden requires a donation, as they mostly open their gardens to support charities. Terry says the social aspect is important for the group and the break for refreshments provides the opportunity for members to come together to chat and share their knowledge and experience of flowers, shrubs and soil.
In December an enjoyable ‘Christmas Drinks’ afternoon was held at Terry’s house for members of the Visiting Essex Gardens and Film Club Groups.
2016 has started well with a visit in February to Sir and Lady J. Bowman’s garden at Boreham. This visit was for the group to see the magnificent display of snowdrops and crocus as part of the NGS Snowdrop Festival.
The group meets on various days throughout the season and the next anticipated visit will be in May. If you would like further details, or wish to be notified of future visits, do contact the group leader Terry Quinlan on 01621 785384