by Anne Chambers
Somehow December’s diary never got written and here we are in 2019 so Happy New Year to everyone. We seem to have been very hectic with a wonderful Christmas in Scotland with my sister and then Johnny’s seventieth birthday celebrations in Vienna and London with the family.
It is going to be another busy year with the publication of a book to mark the one hundred years since the family started to garden here. The Garden History Museum are kindly organizing a book launch in April with our publisher Hugh Merrill and then having a small exhibition in the Museum which will run until the end of May. Vanessa Berridge has researched and written the book and Sabrina Ruber has taken wonderful photographs over the past two years. Robin Lane Fox has written a preface and I have written a small piece for the end. All very exciting and can’t wait to see the finished article which is at the moment with the printers in China.
We have also now appointed new caterers for the tearoom, Cotswold Catering, to take over when we open in April. They are a well established organization with years of experience so we are looking forward to working with them and expect to maintain the very high standard which Lutti Bates achieved when she was in charge.
We are experiencing a very mild winter so far with the snowdrops already flowering, a contrast to last year, but the Beast from the East might be returning in February so winter is not over yet. The prunus incisa praecox is now in full flower, a beautiful tree covered in the palest pink/white flowers before the leaves appear.
We have just returned from a weekend in Kircubrightshire and visited the walled garden nursery at Cally in Gatehouse of Fleet. This used to be run by Michael Wickenden who sadly died two years ago. It has recently been bought by Kevin Hughes who used to work at Spinners Nursery before owning his own nursery at Heale House. He is full of enthusiasm but has a lot of work to do restoring the garden which has been neglected for some years. A very exciting project and it will be fascinating to return and see how he is bringing it back to its former glory.