We were entertained by Alan Power, Headgardener from Stourhead, at our February meeting.
We last heard from Alan in 2007, so he was able to tell us about everything he had been up to since then. He first joined the staff at Stourhead 20 years ago as number 6. There are still only 6 full time gardening staff with 15 volunteers. The House and Estate have a total of 480 volunteers. The Hoare banking family built the Palladian House and the gardens which were a reaction against the formal gardens of the 17th Century. After seven generations the estate was passed to the National Trust in 1947. Alan’s enthusiasm for not only the garden but the history of the family and previous headgardeners shines through. Louise, Alan’s wife, also came along and she is now the gardener for Stourton House.The weather at the estate has been quite challenging this winter but only torrential rain stops any work. The first snowdrops were seen on 22nd December with such a mild winter. Alan showed us slides of the restoration work carried out on the Pantheon (built in 1753) and it was good to hear that some of the timbers used are from the estate. Alan also told us about his Radio 4 chats, over the past eight years, and his four programmes on BBC4,’ British Gardens in Time’. Visitors have been going to Stourhead for the last 250 years and we look forward to taking another look ourselves for our August meeting.
We have 3 outings arranged this summer, Mottisfont Abbey, Sherbourne Castle and Stourhead, if you would like to come along and join us please contact me on 830133 or come along to the next meeting on March 3rd where you can enjoy a talk by Claire Barker on bee keeping and products , these items will be on sale, and you can book a space on the trips.
This years fair on June 11th we will be running the plant stall again so please keep any plants and seedlings for us to sell.
Visitors are always made welcome to any of the meetings.
Jacky Hiscock – Chairman