January 31st 2017
This year's Spring Court Dinner will be held at the Grocers' Hall on the 4th April (attendance Liverymen and their guests only). The Grocers are one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies and are second in precedence to the Mercers (the order of precedence was established by the Court of Aldermen in the 16th Century on the basis of the companies' political or economic power). They have been on their site in Princes Street since 1426 although the present hall, their fifth, was opened in 1970 following a disastrous fire which destroyed their Victorian premises in 1965.
At our dinner the Prince Edward Award for Horticultural Excellence will be presented to celebrate a significant contribution by a person or group working in our industry.
On the 25th April the Master will lead a day visit to Hole Park in Cranbrook, Kent. This is a beautiful house and a truly remarkable private garden hidden in the Kent countryside. It has been in the Barham family for nearly a century. Our visit will include a talk, a tour of the gardens and bluebell woods followed by a delicious lunch. (see www.holepark.com for more details).
The Master's trip to the USA (28th May- 4th June) will start in Philadelphia, America’s first UNESCO world heritage city. As a survivor of the bubonic plague and the Great Fire of London, William Penn attached enormous importance to the provision of green spaces in his new city of Pennsylvania and we shall explore these along with the many sites of historic significance.
Bringing us up to the modern day, the Master is currently in training to run up the 'Rocky Steps'. (These are the Art Museum steps used in his training sessions by Sylvester Stallone's character in the film 'Rocky' and its sequels. Emulating Rocky's race up the steps is regarded as a symbol of perseverance and determination and a must-do on your visit to Philadelphia).
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society will give us a tour of the city’s regeneration projects, urban gardens and pop-up cafes. Moving out to Delaware, we shall examine the legacy of the du Pont family’s fortunes from early in the 19th Century to the present day. Hagley Museum will be our starting point and we shall then visit the world famous Longwood Gardens. The fountains at Longwood are among the largest in the world and the Fountain Garden has just undergone a spectacular $90 million restoration. We shall be among the first groups to see the newly created fountain display.
The gardens at Winterthur will showcase the education legacy, Mount Cuba’s landscape will provide insight into the work being done with indigenous species and the gardens of Chanticleer are an absolute delight.