Our December speaker, Fiona Grant, set me off thinking that a visit to Croome Walled Gardens, currently being restored, might be of interest to some of you. The Gardens are not part of the National Trust's Croome Park Estate and are open only to groups. Chris Cronin, who is leading the restoration, would be very happy to show us round the Gardens on the morning of Wednesday 24 July.
The earliest plan for the gardens, from 1750, maps over 7 acres, and the records, which are almost entire, show continuous cultivation into the 20th century. The restoration began in 2000 with the garden virtually overgrown. The Melon and Fig House were restored early on, but it took a long time to restore and rebuild the walls, drains and, now, the Dipping Pond. Today there are also a rose garden, vegetable beds, and fruit growing on the walls. The website shows progress.
As the gardens are local, we can use our own cars. Chris has an arrangement with the National Trust that his visitors can use their car park at Croome Park (WR8 9DW) and meet him outside their reception building. So he will meet us there at 10.30, and take us down to the gardens, a five-minute stroll away. (If anyone who wants to come has difficulty with the walking, he can organise a space at the gardens.)
He will take us round the gardens on a 'walk and talk' tour which lasts between an hour and an hour and a half, and then provide tea, coffee and biscuits or cake. There is no charge, but donations are very welcome.
If, like me, you like walled gardens, this should be a fascinating morning.