Oxhill News

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South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

February 2015

This months News



Garden Club

On January 15th Anne Chambers, owner and gardener, took us through a year at Kiftsgate Court gardens.  Set on the edge of the Cotswold escarpment near Chipping Campden, the gardens are the creation of three generations of women gardeners. Anne’s grandmother first designed and planted a series of interconnecting gardens each with its distinct character in the 1920s and we were treated to a slide show that included many of her original plantings still thriving almost one hundred years on.  Anne’s mother continued the development of the gardens and introduced new plant and shrub varieties particularly suited to the different micro-climates found in the different parts of the six acre estate.

Anne and her husband are building on their inheritance and spend most mornings working in the gardens (with a little hired help!) before the visitors arrive in the middle of the day Saturday through to Wednesday, April to September.  There is always work to be done keeping the grounds immaculate, pruning as necessary and filling in for natural die back. Whereas the drifts of snowdrops and daffodils are self-seeding despite the ground being returned to mowed lawn later in the year, the dense plantings of tulips need to have several hundred bulbs of the same varieties added to maintain the glorious annual showings.

Anne’s enthusiasm was lovely to see and her horticultural knowledge such that she not only had the name of each and every plant at her (very green) fingertips but could also recount its history.  The most notable, the famous Kiftsgate rose (Rosa filipes ‘Kiftsgate’), is a vigourous thorny climber and reckoned to be the largest in England.  It takes up half the space on one side of the Rose Border and three trees have been smothered by its spreading habit. We were shown a spectacular slide of it covered in panicles of white blooms resembling a cascading July waterfall amongst the trees.

The consensus of those present at the talk, whether or not they had visited Kiftsgate before, was that the committee should arrange a trip there later in the year. Watch this space!   The next Garden Club meeting (always the third Thursday in the month) is on 19th February, is a talk by Philip Aubrey on ‘The History of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens’, and is when we look forward to a social gathering of friends old and new.

Douglas Nethercleft

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Last modified: February 09, 2015