Percy Picton Lecture – Chris Beardshaw: A Review

Chris-BeardshawChris Beardshaw bound us to every word. His talk was in two parts. The first of which was the remarkable story of how a group of enthusiastic amateur gardeners gained a Gold Medal at the RHS Show in 2012; the second was a brief introduction to 101 plants That Nearly Changed the World.

The Furzey Garden is in the New Forrest and was created in the early 1900s by two brothers who, already wealthy, discovered gold in Australia and being plantaholics decided to create a woodland garden back home.A beautiful and informal woodland garden offering peaceful walks, exceptional trees and shrubs and views across to the Isle of Wight. Furzey Gardens Trust is part of The Minstead Training Trust who provide residential care and horticultural training to adults with learning disabilities. Having lost local authority funding the charismatic Reverend Tim Selwood, one time barrister, decided to raise the garden’s profile by going to Chelsea in 2012. Chris told of the many obstacles overcome by Tim and his colleagues; a cash shortfall of £200,000 in preparing the garden; recovering an enormous trailer with mature trees stuck going the wrong way in a Wimbledon one way street; recreating the thatched “lantern” which reflected the thatched buildings at Furzey. The lantern included the fairies front door, many more of which are to be found at Furzey and glass leaves created by the students.
Their GOLD medal shocked the local council to restore funding.

Part two included stories of how nettles kept the sock-less Roman’s feet warm; how pineapple became a marinade for gammon (after tenderising unfortunates captured by cannibals) and how carrots became orange, make fly fishing rods and might be used in the construction of warships.

Our next meeting is on Monday November 3rd at Colwall Village Hall. Mark Paviour will present The Year Round Shrub Garden. Come early, 7 for 7.30, have a coffee and make/meet friends to discuss your gardening interests (and challenges). We have many experienced and knowledgeable gardeners who are happy to answer questions. Subscriptions, payable in January, are £12.00; visitors are charged £4.00.

Tim Beaumont

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