News & Events
Please note that events are for members only and generally have to be pre-booked.
A booking form is sent to members with the newsletter in January and June.
March Lecture Event 1
Downton Gorge – The Matchless Valley. The ‘Wild Picturesque’ in Herefordshire.
Tom Wall was Warden of Downton Gorge National Nature Reserve until retirement in 2010 and was one of the organisers of The Picturesque Landscape exhibition of 1994 which marked the bicentenary of the publication of Richard Payne Knight’s The Landscape and Uvedale Price’s Essay on the Picturesque. He has written extensively about Knight’s landscape at Downton and with his wife Gisèle has recently published Downton Gorge: the matchless valley. Landscape and industry, nature and culture. His talk will take us into Knight’s unique, often-referenced but little-known landscape, and he will explore the remarkable synergy there between nature and culture. Tom will be selling copies of their new book (£20).
April AGM Event 2
Madresfield Court, Madresfield, Malvern
By kind permission of Mrs. J. Chenevix-Trench.
The main drive enters the gardens past a Norman Shaw Lodge and through an archway designed by Charles Voysey in 1901. The gardens, mainly laid out in 1865, are based on three avenues of oak, cedar and Lombardy poplar, within and around which are specimen trees and flowering shrubs. In the spring the gardens are carpeted with daffodils, anemone, cowslips, fritillaries and bluebells. Formal gardens and lawns to front of house, sundial garden and Pulhamite rock garden.
Tour of Madresfield Court. Numbers are restricted. The house contains outstanding collections of furniture, paintings and porcelain. Wonderful library designed by C.R. Ashbee. The Chapel, commissioned from Birmingham artists and craftsmen in 1902, is widely regarded as the most complete, and perhaps the finest of all British Arts and Crafts achievements.
May Visit Event 3
Court of Noke
By kind permission of Edward & Emma Bulmer. Court of Noke became a farmhouse before the interior was completed. Three centuries later it is a superb country house, though still the centre of a farm. Visit includes the house and the restored Dutch-style Water Garden, also of c1700, which can never have looked better.
Westonbury Mill Water Garden
Mark and Deborah Constable have been hard at work over the last 2 years restoring their fascinating gardens with the extensive and varied areas of water and planting. The three follies are indicative of the sense of humour in the gardens. There is an excellent cafe where refreshments may be purchased.
June Visit Event 4
Pan Global Plants, The Walled Garden, Frampton Court, Frampton-on-Severn
For over 2 decades Pan Global has been supplying gardeners, collectors and arboreta from one of the most inspiring collections of plants available in UK. Nick Macer, the owner and well known plant explorer chooses and vets each variety and will give an introductory talk. Come prepared to be tempted to a desirable plant!
Frampton Court and Frampton Manor
By kind permission of the Clifford family - their home for over 1,000 years and home of the artists of the famous Frampton Flora.
Frampton Court is a Georgian mansion in extensive grounds with water garden. At the head of the 17thC ornamental Dutch canal is the exquisite Orangery - described by Country Life as ‘The prettiest garden building in England’.
Frampton Manor, a timber framed listed family home, is surrounded by a diverse and extensively planted garden consisting of mature herbaceous borders, topiary, roses and magnificent kitchen garden and orchard.
Tea will be served in the impressive Wool Barn in the farmyard of the Manor.
July Visit Event 5
The Garden of the Wind at Middle Hunt House, Walterstone, Hereford
By kind permission of Rupert & Antonietta Otten.
A modern 4 acre garden using swathes of herbaceous plants and grasses, surrounding a stone built farmhouse and barns with stunning views of the Black Mountains. Rose border, hornbeam alley, formal parterre, water rill and fountains. Carved lettering and sculpture through the garden. Partial wheelchair access.
July Visit Event 6
Westonbirt School Gardens, Westonbury, Tetbury, Glos.
By kind permission of Holfords of Westonbirt Trust.
Robert Stayner Holford, who inherited Westonbirt in 1839, replaced the existing Georgian house with the present Elizabethan style mansion which was designed by Lewis Vulliamy in the 1860s. The tour of the house starts at 2.00pm, followed by tea and then Margie Hoffnung will give us a guided tour of the extensive formal Italianate gardens, lake and grotto.
September Visit Event 7
The Picton Garden, Old Court Nurseries, Walwyn Road, Colwall
By kind permission of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Picton.
1½ acre garden at the foot of the Malvern Hills where colourful borders display the Plant Heritage Collection of Michaelmas Daisies of over 430 varieties. Paths wind through, where there are many unusual plants, shrubs and trees. There are more than 100 different ferns and acers. Plants will be for sale.
October Lecture Event 8
Verdure Is The Most Perfect Refreshment – Jane Austen and the English Landscape Garden
Many will remember Laura Mayer’s entertaining lecture in November 2019 about The Society of the Dilettanti. This time she will talk about Jane Austen’s sharp social satire and how she was highly attuned to the shifting sensibilities surrounding landscape gardening which had been gathering pace since the beginning of the 18thC. Laura will look at the Bath connection and discuss the various gardens mentioned, whilst exploring Gilpin’s theories on the Gothic/Picturesque, the fashion for garden visiting and the connections between Mansfield Park and Humphry Repton.
Laura is an independent lecturer and researcher, and has published extensively. She holds an MA in Garden History and a PhD on 18c patronage, both from the University of Bristol.
October Visit Event 9
Moccas Landscape & Church
By kind permission of Francis Chester Master. Initially a brief walk in the Little Park with its amphitheatre and spring fed pond; used in the Middle Ages for the ritual slaughter of deer. Followed by a walk in the Deer Park around the Lawn Pool - an Ice Age survivor - a visit to the famous Moccas Oak, host to a unique beetle, extinct elsewhere in England. Visit to Moccas Church – Romanesque, beautifully restored at the height of the Aesthetic Movement by George Gilbert Scott junior and with a rare water powered organ, made famous by Francis Kilvert.
November Lecture Event 10
Roger White will talk to us about astonishing follies in gardens and parks. His new book, Georgian Arcadia, will be available to purchase.
The Gardens Trust have sent us details of their latest offer. We recommend joining TGT for the wealth of online lectures and courses and their scholarly Garden History Journal. (see below)
Note that the November Zoom lecture has now been replaced with a talk on Georgian Arcadia by Roger White. Helena Gerrish will be talking about Mounton House next year.
Malcolm Meikle. 3rd June 1929 – 1st April 2023
Seen here with our Chairman, Jeffrey Haworth.
Malcolm Meikle, our longstanding Gardens Trust member and stalwart committee member has sadly died at the ripe old age of 93. We will all miss him. The following words have been penned by Jeffrey Haworth.
On hearing Malcolm had died, Anne Langton (our Secretary) wrote, “Such a Grand Old Man, always interested and informative - and not afraid of lobbing the odd apple/pear/plum into the conversation.” We have appreciated his amiable insights and help since he joined the Committee 25 years ago, until he stepped down two years ago and even afterwards in phone calls. We've valued his guidance and ability to pull strings after a Worcestershire lifetime.
Malcolm was born at Wick Grange and only recently he and Mima formed a dower house nearby. He attended the remarkable Victorian choir school at St Michael's, Tenbury. He was sad when it folded and I told him about the refectory furniture, in the manner of William Burges, looking so desolate and unappreciated in the Leominster saleroom.
His father died suddenly when Malcolm was 18, so he had to stay on at Wick to help his mother run the large mixed farm.
He had a long association with Wychavon District Council, stepping down as Leader in 2004. Then Malcolm and Mima had more time for HWGT and have been regulars at our visits and lectures and generally conspicuous at our gatherings. They have been so hospitable at Wick, with several group visits there that we remember.
Several of us recall Malcolm being intrigued at his first Committee meeting by one or two of our more eccentric colleagues, John St Bodfan Gruffydd in particular, the decidedly Welsh and opinionated former President of the Landscape Institute (the Committee has never lacked spark). Malcolm was certainly a backbone of HWGT, if an organisation such as ours can have several. Many of us have lost a good friend.
For a quarter century Malcolm had been intrigued by the saga of the Pershore organ, with its novel twists and turns. He was thrilled when at last a new pipe organ was commissioned and entertained that it is Italian and placed uniquely high up near the vaults in the triforium. Delayed by Covid and Brexit, it was given its first major airing at Malcolm's memorial service, bringing the saga as well as his life to a close.