When Rupert Murdoch bought a new house for his [apparently soon-to-be-ex-] wife Jerry Hall in 2019 I wonder if he knew much about its history. Holmwood in the village of Binfield Heath near Henley cost over £11 million which might have surprised the person who lived there in the late 18thc/early 19thc, Mark Kerr.
Apart from being the son of a marquis and having a distinguished naval career Kerr was also a talented amateur artist and seems to have had a particular interest in sketching gardens and landscapes including his own at Holmwood. While his work isn’t as colourful or witty as that of his contemporary Diana Sperling who I wrote about recently they still give a real insight in to a garden of the time.
Any idea what plant this is? If you grow them you probably know but if you don’t why not have a guess
Yes its an extraordinary title for a post but it’s about an extraordinary project. Just before Britain celebrated the Platinum Jubilee garden lovers in France were celebrating the re-opening of an amazing garden which itself only celebrates one family of plants. Housed in the grounds of a huge 18thc chateau it is the brainchild of one woman who has been building her collection – now the largest in the world – for less than 20 years and only made it public in 2016. To make matters more unusual it’s only open a few weeks each year.
Any ideas of Who? What? Why? and Where?
“England’s public parks and gardens have played a central role in the celebration and the commemoration of royal jubilees for more than two hundred years. The roll call of jubilee gardens, coronation parks, queen’s parks and parks named after princes and princesses reflect these special associations from the Victorian era to modern times. Many of these parks and gardens are of special historic interest and protected by designations.”
Those words of Baroness Andrews, the then chair of Historic England prefaced the publication in 2012 of Jubilee-ation a short history of Royal Jubilees in public park, to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It was largely written by my fellow Gardens Trust trustee, David Lambert, and it remains a good read.
Ten years on with the first ever royal Platinum Jubilee I thought over the next couple of weeks it would be a nice gesture to look back at the subject again and also see how things have developed. But I’m going to start earlier than that.