2015 Summer Programme




If you are interested in joining us on any of the summer visits listed below, please email David Bond at      david@dbond.me.uk


VISIT TO STOWE  – Wednesday, 6th May 2015.  10.30 a.m.

Stowe is perhaps the most famous garden of the 18th century and was home to the Temple-Grenville family, leading members of the Whig party.  The garden was consciously designed to project their grandeur and political philosophy.  Thus there are numerous layers in the evolution of the English Landscape which can be seen at Stowe.  Philip Clarke, a Stowe guide, will lead us on an exploration of the work of Charles Bridgeman and William Kent, which will add to this year’s theme of the loosening up of the formal style before the Capability Brown celebrations of 2016.

VISIT TO GLENDON HALL –   Wednesday 3rd June, 2015.  6.30 p.m.

It has been some years since we visited Glendon Hall so that new members can enjoy the lovely gardens and unusual plants of one of the owners at the Hall and others can see how the gardens have developed since.  There are large walled kitchen gardens with glasshouse, specimen trees and topiary and herbaceous borders.  We hope to be able to see the statues which originally stood in Boughton park, even at a distance.

VISIT TO THENFORD HOUSE   –   Saturday, 6th June, 2015.  2 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.

We are fortunate to be able to join a rare open day at Thenford House.  Lord Heseltine is immensely proud of the Arboretum he has created which covers some 70 acres and there are over 3,500 different types of trees and shrubs.  The gardens also contain medieval fishponds, other pools and lakes, a new alpine trough garden, a new rose garden, a sculpture garden and a wonderful eighteenth century walled kitchen garden.

SUMMER PARTY AT  COTTESBROOKE HALL –   Friday, 26th June, 2015.   7 p.m.

The Summer Party will be held at Cottesbrooke Hall, by kind permission of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair MacDonald Buchanan.  After wine and canapés on arrival, the Head Gardener, Phylip Astley will lead us on an exploration of the lovely gardens before we assemble for supper.  The Summer Party is our main fundraising event for our Education Fund and the Small Grants Fund, so please support us and have an enjoyable evening.

VISIT TO BOUGHTON HOUSE LANDSCAPE AND GARDENS – Thursday afternoon, 16th July 2015 2 p.m.
The early 18th century garden landscape of Boughton House remains largely intact, yet even that shows indications of having been loosened from its first inception.  It has been the subject of intensive restoration by the late Duke of Buccleuch and this is still ongoing, with an added modern feature commissioned by the present Duke.   We shall have a guided tour of the gardens and parkland followed by afternoon tea.

VISIT TO ROUSHAM – Saturday 1st August, 2015.  11 a.m.

The Rousham House landscape is probably the finest unaltered design by William Kent still existing and represents that phase of garden design of which Horace Walpole wrote of Kent ‘he leapt the fence and saw all nature was a garden’.  It is indeed nature brought into the garden, the river Cherwell acts as the boundary with views across to the wider landscape with eye-catcher beyond.  Trees, the light and shade, rills, ponds and cascades add to its tranquillity, with plentiful seats on which to absorb the atmosphere.  There is also a walled kitchen garden with lovely herbaceous borders and a very fine dovecote.

VISIT TO HARRINGTON –  Wednesday, 12th August, 2015.  6.30 p.m.

Guided tour of the Harrington Terraces and fishponds, and Tour of the Warner Edwards Distillery.

We shall have a guided tour of the scheduled ancient monument of the terraces and medieval fishponds.  There was a preceptory of the Hospitallers Knights of St. John on the site and after the Dissolution it came into possession of the Stanhope family.  The manor house was demolished c.1740 but the garden terraces remain with the medieval fishponds in the field beyond.

The distillery uses the natural spring water near the fishponds for the distillation of gin and this Northamptonshire product won a double gold in the San Francisco world spirits competition in 2014.

VISIT TO H.E BATES’ NORTHAMPTONSHIRE  –     Saturday, 5th September 2015.  10.30 a.m.

Continuing our Chairman’s literary tour of the county, we are looking at the well-known Northamptonshire author H.E. Bates.    H.E., as he liked to be known, was born in Rushden and spent much of his childhood visiting his grandparents in Higham Ferrers.  The local area inspired and influenced his early works, and is described in many of his stories. We shall visit evocative sites in the locality including those at Higham Ferrers related to ‘The Sleepless Moon’ and also Rushden Hall and grounds which featured in ‘Love for Lydia’.