Gardening group 2
We spend most of the year visiting gardens within about a 20 mile radius of Emsworth but in the winter months we might meet at the community centre and have speakers, videos or discussions on gardening issues. We have a Christmas lunch and a summer garden party.
For our first meeting of the year in February 2020 we welcomed Emma Moffat and Rebecca Lloyd to talk to us about the Work and Retrain as a Gardener Scheme (WRAGS). Emma explained that the scheme had its origins in 1899 and the suffragette movement supporting women who wished to work on the land. In World War 2 the Women’s Land Army was formed and the Government became involved with training being organised by WFGA. The WRAG Scheme was launched in 1993 to provide paid, part-time, practical horticultural training. The trainee works for 14 hours a week for the whole year, in a carefully sourced garden, under the instruction of the garden owner or head gardener. Graduates of the Scheme enter a wide range of horticultural careers including, running their own gardening business, plant nursery work, head gardener roles and working for the WFGA as Regional Managers.
We were lucky enough to find the weather, on the second Tuesday in March 2020, a vast improvement from last year (!) and we enjoyed a visit to Denman’s garden which began with a welcome coffee and homemade biscuits.
Vanessa Horstead gave us a brief introduction to the garden which was the former home and garden of the late John Brookes MBE, one of Britain’s most influential landscape designers. Denmans Garden features dry riverbeds, gravel gardens, a walled garden, a conservatory, and unusual plants from around the world. The contemporary 4-acre garden was converted from market garden to ornamental garden by plants woman Joyce Robinson. As you can see from the photographs there was a lot to see in the garden and also some wise advice freely given from one of the gardeners on duty.
We hope that you are all enjoying your gardens at this time of the year especially as we are all social distancing and some in isolation due to the COVid19 Pandemic. An hour or so in the garden in the fresh air is such a treat and quite uplifting.
We were due to visit West Dean Garden in April but this not going to be possible due to the aforementioned reason but we will keep a watchful eye on the Government's advice and organise a trip to one of the gardens on our schedule for this year (available from the group leaders) as soon as is practicably possible.
In the meantime please keep safe and well - Vicki and Diana
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