Lectures & Trips 2017-2018

Saturday 18 November 2017

LECTURE: Painshill, the restoration story. Cherrill Sands, garden historian, will explain how this beautiful 18th century pleasure garden has been restored using plants contemporary to its creation by the Hon. Charles Hamilton. We will find out about the crystal grotto, once again a sparkling centrepiece, and the most recent project, the rebuild of the Temple of Bacchus due for completion this year.

Saturday 24 February 2018

LECTURE: Hatfield Forest through the centuries. Simon Cramner, Operations Manager, National Trust Hatfield Forest will talk to us about the fascinating history of this SSSI and National Nature Reserve at the heart of our county, including the latest discoveries of its association with Lancelot Capability Brown. Simon will also provide an insight into how the NT meets the challenges of managing this precious, but much visited site, and the lessons that they are providing to other ancient forests around the world.

Saturday 24 March 2018

LECTURE: Copped Hall, bringing the gardens back to life. Alan Cox,  Chairman and co-founder of the Copped Hall Trust will enlighten us about the history of the gardens, their destruction and the bringing back to life of the many aspects of the Grade II* listed landscape, including the Orchard House and the Walled Kitchen Garden.

All lectures will be given at 2.30pm in Room UO6, Writtle University College, Main Building, Lordship Lane, Writtle, Essex, CM1 3RR

Members £5.00. Guests £7.50 (including refreshments and free parking).

To book any of these lectures, send your cheque (made payable to Essex Gardens Trust), to Michele Freeman, 36 Chitts Hill, Lexden, Colchester, Essex, CO3 9ST.

Enquiries:  01206 560557  

Trips for 2018

Tuesday 24 April 2018 National Trust Hatfield Forest, Essex

Join us for a morning guided walk into the forest to look at this magnificent woodland, its flora and fauna, and find out about how it is managed in the 21st century.  Members £5.00, guests £7.50 inc. refreshments on arrival. NT car park charge applies (free to NT members).

Visit to Helmingham Hall, Suffolk  (Date to be confirmed).

Coach Trip to  Painshill Park, Surrey  (Date to be confirmed).

Thursday 12 July 2018 RHS Garden Hyde Hall

Join us for an evening guided tour of the gardens with Curator Robert Brett and hear about the latest developments within the gardens and wider estate.  Members £5.00, guests £7.50 inc. refreshments.

To book your place at any of these events, send your cheque, (made payable to ESSEX GARDENS TRUST), to Michele Freeman, 36 Chitts Hill, Lexden, Colchester, Essex, CO3 9ST or telephone 01206 560557.

AGM 2017

Our day spent atBarnards Farm Gardens on Saturday 14th October was very enjoyable. After meeting for coffee, the AGM was chaired by Lord Petre and a new chairman, Thadian Pillai, elected. Minutes will be available on the Board Publications page once they are completed. Members and guests enjoyed walking around the gardens in mild and sunny conditions, a light lunch was provided, followed by an entertaining and interesting talk by  Xa Tollemache, garden designer. Her work can be seen during two of our trips next year - the recently opened Global Growth Vegetable Garden at RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Essex and her own garden at Helmingham Hall, Suffolk.

Previous visits 2016 & 2017


Morning visit with lunch at Peter Beales Roses, followed in the afternoon by East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden

Workshop at Writtle University College with Charlotte Power

Identifying trees in the landscape


Talk and guided tour by Peter Miller at Kings Seeds, Monks Farm, Kelvedon, Essex, CO5 9PG.                                                                                           

DRAGONS, Boyton Cross

An exclusive visit to a plants woman's ¾-acre garden which is surrounded by farmland and planted to encourage wildlife.

WARLEY PLACE near Brentwood

Guided tour of this once very famous Edwardian garden belonging to Ellen Willmott.


As well as entrance to the house & gardens, included is an exclusive 1.5 hour tour of the grounds with Head Gardener Alan North explaining the challenges of managing Lancelot 'Capability' Brown's historic landscape in the 21st century. 


Visit to the private gardens of Lord & Lady Heseltine. 


Private opening for EGT of this recently created private garden surrounding the renovated
Grade II listed 19thC house (not open). 


Afternoon access to gardens followed by behind the scenes tour at 7pm with Curator Robert Brett explaining the major development plans for the site inc. the Global Growth Vegetable garden (designer Xa Tollemache).  


Past events have included:


Anglesy Abbey: Managing and developing the garden - Richard Todd, Head gardener

Arrival of Exotic Trees in England & the Impact on our Gardens - Hugh Johnson

Before Kent & Brown - the formal & geometric garden - Caroline Holmes

Capability Men: Lancelot Brown in context -  Prof Tom Williamson  

Challenges of managing historic landscapes

Discovering the History of Thorpe Hall Gardens - Jan Michalak

Dowsing: A controversial tool for the garden researcher - Dr Clive Beale

Give the Guests a Good Soaking: Use of water in Italian gardens - Helena Attlee

Given Landscapes: Gardens in trust - Michael Thompson

Green Architecture - George Carter

In Japan - Prue James

Menageries - Cheryl Sands     

New Audiences: Being historic is not enough - Jill Raggett

Plant Hunters - driven by nurserymen or the allure of the wild? - Ailsa Wildig

Recreating Eden or Landscaping with Llamas - Dr Twigs Way

Reflecting on Great Landscapes: The use of water in medieval residences -  Dr Robert Liddiard

The Point of Grass - John Phibbs

Understanding the Gift - Oli Neave & Emma Cannell

Warley Place: the history of a garden that is now a Nature Reserve - Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

Warrens - Professor Tom Williamson of University of East Anglia

Water in the Orient: From cracked ice to Monet’s water lilies - Dr Jill Raggett

With Excellent Contrivance & Much Cost - the pre-Brownian Landscape - Dr Twigs Way

Widening Horizons: An island with a secret - Essex nurseryman Isaac Bunting




Bromptons - private tour

Chippenham Park, Cambs - tour around the water gardens with owner Anne Crawley

Fanners Farm garden, Great Waltham -  guided tour with owners Caroline & Peter Lee

Feeringbury Manor, Feering - guided tour

Fudlers Hall - informal visit

Harvey's Garden Plants - informal visit

Marks Hall winter planting and snow drops - guided tour with Curator, Jonathon Jukes

Marks Hall, Coggeshall Garden and Arboretum - tour with Curator, Jonathan Jukes

Otley Hall - guided tour with Head gardener Simon Nickson and owner Catherine Beaumont

Peacocks, Margaretting - guided tour by owners Phil and Carol Torr

The Place for Plants, East Bergholt - guided tour by the owner Rupert Eley

Ulting Wick garden, Maldon - guided tour by the owner Philippa Burrough

Trees at Warley Place, Brentwood - guided tour by Ailsa Wildig


The Joys of Garden History Research: Study day








Valentines Park

Valentines Park