Monday, 1 August 2016

Archives, Potting sheds and Databases: the Annual Lecture

The annual lecture this year is being given by Simon Gulliver, National Trust Gardens Consultant.
It looks like it will be a really interesting talk and this is the main fundraising event for the Leicestershire and Rutland Gardens Trust.  All the profits go to LRGT's Schools into Gardening Scheme, a very worthy cause.


Thursday, 10 March 2016

Moving Heaven and Earth.....

This year we celebrate the tercentenary of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown- the creator of many of England’s most cherished landscapes.

Although he has his critics (visionary- or vandal?) there’s no doubt that Brown’s name is synonymous with the smoothly contoured hills and perfectly placed watercourses that so closely copy nature. The very essence of “Englishness.”
Croome Park NT Images/ David Noton

I have always been fascinated by his engineering skills- his ability to manipulate water-  changing watercourses and creating of lakes.  Just the temerity he had to sweep away whole villages if they stood in the way of his plans to create an idealised view.  How did he manage to picture the finished landscape, with none of our modern measuring tools and digital equipment?  How did they work on such a vast scale with none of our powerful earth- moving equipment?

“Moving Heaven and Earth: Capability Brown’s Gift of Landscape,” is the title of Steffie Shields’ Spring Lecture for the LRGT. 
Steffie Shields

It is also the title of her new book, due to be published in May.  Celebrated historian, photographer and writer  Steffie will explore the surviving highlights of Brown’s career, and will include local works  at Belvoir Castle , Stapleford Park, and Burghley House.  
Burghley Lake (photo from

Steffie is organising an exhibition in London of contemporary photography   as part of the Capability Brown Tercentenary Celebrations. She is on the University of Cambridge Tutors Panel, Institute of Continuing Education, Madingley, and is Advisor to the Steering Group working towards the national celebrations this year.

Moving Heaven and Earth; Capability Brown’s Gift of Landscape; Saturday 12th March 2016 2pm: Please note change of venue:

The venue has been changed from Kenwood Bowling Club to:
Knighton Rd
Guests Welcome £2 payable on the door.  After the lecture, there will be tea and cakes.
Also:  Book Now! As part of our Capability Brown celebrations, we are hosting a trip to Croome Park on May 19th with lunch in the walled garden. Please see the website for details.

By Karen Gimson 

Saturday, 13 February 2016

LRGT Garden Visits for 2016

Our first garden visit of the year will be to Easton Walled Gardens and Little Ponton Hall near Grantham in Lincolnshire.
(Photograph by kind permission of Fred Cholmeley)
Easton Hall, home to the Cholmeley family for nearly 400 years, was demolished in 1951 and the gardens abandoned. The family still own the estate and, in 2001, began the revival of the gardens. The remains you can see today include parts of the Formal Gardens, the Gatehouse and the Stable yard. The gardens are renowned for their winter display of snowdrops and aconites and for sweet peas in the summer. The trust first visited in 2010.  Easton Walled Garden is an RHS partner garden.
(Photograph by kind permission of Fred Cholmeley)
Little Ponton Hall and its gardens lie in the curve of the River Witham.  The 18th century house, home to Mrs Rosemary McCorquodale, is surrounded by immaculate lawns and spring flower -filled borders. The 200 year old cedar tree looks beautiful set against the architecture of the house.   In the walled vegetable garden there are the Victorian greenhouses full of exotic plants, and a listed dovecote. The most recent project is the development of a herb garden.
(Photograph by kind permission of Gillian Rudman)
This is a magical, secret garden, rarely opened to the public and only for one weekend in 2016.  Adjoining the garden is the tiny village church dedicated to St. Guthlac.
In  early spring, swathes of snowdrops cover the river banks, and aconites form a yellow carpet along the path to the church.

Garden visits planned for later this year include Croome Park (May 19)  Renishaw Hall and Gardens (June 26) and Heath House and Trentham Gardens (16 August). 
Karen Gimson