The speaker at the Society’s second meeting of the winter season was Stephen Griffiths, Curator of Abbotsbury’s Sub-Tropical Garden.  Stephen, who is a well-travelled author and garden tour leader and a member of numerous professional bodies, including a RHS Plant Committee and the International Camellia Society, arrived at Abbotsbury just after the massive damage caused by the great storm of 1990.  His brief on taking up the appointment was to oversee a new ten-year development plan designed revive the historical garden to improve plant content and infrastructure so as to enhance tourism aspects.


His photo laden presentation began with a brief history of Abbotsbury which had been established adjacent to a grand seaward facing house built by the Fox-Strangeways family (subsequently the Earls of Ilchester) in 1765, who remained in residence until 1913, when the house was destroyed by a fire, after which the family returned to their former (and current) seat at Melbury House.  However the old wall garden was maintained and remains in family ownership.


Stephen explained that the wooded and sheltered 20 hectare site has its own micro climate in which more delicate plants than are usually grown in southern England can flourish, and that these which would otherwise need greenhouses can be grown outside.  These factors lend support to the formal and informal gardens, as well as the comprehensive woodland walks and walled garden.  After an informative question and answer interval, a vote of thanks proposed by the Chairman was supported and applauded by the 31 members who attended.  Jenny Hopkin then outlined arrangements for the 9 February 2016 visit to Robin and Gerry Maclachlan’s snowdrop collection and asked members to indicate preferences for ‘group block timings’ for the conducted tours.


The next meeting will be held on 8 December at 7-30pm in the Village Hall when Society member Lene Wade will give a tutorial on Christmas floral decorations.  The occasion will also include mulled wine and mince pies, plus a Christmas Raffle (donations as Prizes will be gratefully accepted by Jenny Hopkin (01300 341252).

Comments are closed.

Gallery Photos

pub 100b1201 playarea dsc_5922