Tuesday 4th June, 2013
Unlike our Highgrove outing when the heavens opened, Tuesday 4 June was a glorious sunny day with just a hint of a cool breeze. We gathered at the Duchess Cafe and enjoyed a leisurely coffee before being met by Martin Towsey who gave us an introductory talk recapping briefly on his visit to the club in May.
We wandered over to the Chinese Dairy where we were introduced to the carp in the pond with the help of the delicious fish food.These large carp were the descendants of the original stock that fed the monks at the Abbey hundreds of years ago.
Her Grace, The Duchess, the Duke and Martin’s plan is to restore the grounds and buildings to their former glory.
The national collection of ericas is in the process of restoration with inverted hanging basket frames protecting the new plants, the Orangery now houses camellias and other exotic plants. The grounds have a collection of shrubs and trees some of which were grown from seed collected by past explorers. The sequoiadendron (Giant Redwood) was named after the Indian chief, Sequoia, in North America in return for the seeds. Dendron means tree, hence Rhododendron means Rose Tree. What a great language latin is!
Darwin and Humphrey Davy experimented with individual grasses to find which ones helped cattle to produce the most milk. Four members of our party were elected to hold the grasses which they did well. The hornbeam maze is being restored to its original plan but is only open on Bank holidays – I’m still not sure what the difference is between a maze and a labyrinth!
Martin’s 2 hour tour was conducted with the same level of enthusiasm and knowledge that was evident when he visited us in Biddenham. I came away with a feeling of excitement and pride for a part of Bedfordshire which is being recreated with only 7 gardeners for 28 acres. I can’t wait to see the enormous stilted greenhouse appear on the lawns. There is only one other which is in France and was modeled upon Woburns’.
So thank you Martin for your enthusiasm and thank you Gloria for organizing the trip and thank you for the sunshine. »» click for Photo’s »»