5th MARCH 2017

A chance meeting with Troy Scott Smith at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2015 was the catalyst for our Gala held on Sunday, 5 March. He kindly offered to give a lecture in Norfolk and we developed the theme of the day around the restoration of great gardens. To this end, we also asked Andrew Turvey, latterly of Myddelton House and Wrest Park to speak.

The day arrived and 85 members and friends arrived at East Tuddenham Jubilee Hall. They were able to enjoy coffee and indulge themselves with plant sales from the Beth Chatto Nursery, Peter Beales Roses and also some Sissinghurst plants supplied by Troy.

The first lecture entitled ‘Restore - Revamp - Revitalise’ was by Andrew who talked about the restoration work carried out at Myddelton House, Enfield, the former home of E A Bowles inspired by Tim Smit’s restoration work at Heligan. It was fascinating to see the garden come alive again as glasshouses, the kitchen garden and many other areas were restored and revamped. Interestingly, Andrew felt the revitalisation would come about with the advent of many more visitors to the garden. He also spoke about the ongoing programme of restoration at Wrest Park and we were treated to a fascinating aerial view of the site.

After a delicious lunch, we heard  the lecture from Troy entitled 'Sissinghurst - Vita Revitalised'. He spoke initially of his work at The Courts Garden in Wiltshire and at Bodnant. He then outlined his vision for Sissinghurst, much of which is dedicated to developing the garden in the ethos of Vita Sackville West to reflect it’s Kentish context. He wants the garden to be 'softer at the edges' and to reflect that it was once a private garden, whilst still being able to cater for the huge number of people who visit each year. His commitment and passion for the work were evident to everyone.

The day ended with a vote of thanks for all who had  made the day possible, but it will be an event that is likely to stay in minds for some time for all the right reasons.


Words by Kathy Gray.

Photos by David King.

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