Cats!

The Perfect Cat by Louis Wain

Apologies if you’ve already seen this post.  I’ve had several messages saying that either the blog hadn’t arrived or that it wouldn’t open properly so I’m reposting it in the hope that we have better luck second time around.

Humans have a love-hate relationship with cats. Personally I find it hard to understand why some people don’t like them. They’re very independent, clean and tidy, generally quiet and  pretty low maintenance,  and of course so instinctively clever that, unlike another favourite four legged friend they don’t need  lots of training.

Of course it’s true, as my cat Rupert often reminds me that while dogs have owners cats have servants but I can forgive that.   Yet as a gardener, like gardeners for centuries,  I recognise that cats in gardens can be a problem if not a nightmare.  Today’s post is going to look at the joys and tribulations of cats and their place in the garden…

Rupert

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Cats!

The Perfect Cat by Louis Wain

Humans have a love-hate relationship with cats. Personally I find it hard to understand why some people don’t like them. They’re very independent, clean and tidy, generally quiet and  pretty low maintenance,  and of course so instinctively clever that, unlike another favourite four legged friend they don’t need  lots of training.

Of course it’s true, as my cat Rupert often reminds me that while dogs have owners cats have servants but I can forgive that.   Yet as a gardener, like gardeners for centuries,  I recognise that cats in gardens can be a problem if not a nightmare.  Today’s post is going to look at the joys and tribulations of cats and their place in the garden…

Rupert

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Fabulous Florilegia

What are florilegia? In a direct translation from Latin a florilegium  literally means a collection of flowers so its easy to see why it was used for the first time  by Adriaen Collaert as the title for  his book simply entitled ‘Florilegium which was a collection of his engravings of flowers, with no accompanying text, published in Antwerp in around 1590.  It wasn’t long though before the term became more specific and began to mean a painted or engraved record of the flowers growing in a specific garden.

Usually bound into book form a florilegium was often commissioned by an institution or wealthy individual and served effectively as a catalogue or portrait gallery of the beautiful and often rare flowers they possessed.

This post is about one artist and the florilegia he created.  He’s virtually unknown and his work was for a long time thought to be by someone else but when you see the quality of his painting you’ll wonder how on earth he could have been overlooked.

So take a bow if you’ve heard of Hans Simon Holtzbecker, otherwise read on to discover more about what you’ve been missing…

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Fifty Years of Garden History

Way back in 1965 a small but dedicated band of garden enthusiasts got together and formed what was to become  “the oldest society in the world dedicated to the conservation and study of historic designed gardens and landscapes.”    Through their  interventions, advice and casework the Garden History Society helped save or conserve scores of important gardens, and, almost more importantly, raised awareness of the country’s amazing heritage of designed landscapes and gardens.  Six years later our journal Garden History was born, which means that towards the end of last year it  celebrated its golden jubilee.

The Gardens Trust is delighted to say that a bumper special issue has been put together to  mark the occasion. Thanks to the financial support of the Finnis Scott Foundation, and many of our own  members and supporters, not only has it has been sent in print to all our members, it’s also being made freely available on-line. We are very grateful to the SDS Group, who produced the digital edition.  Read on to find out more about the journal and its history, some of the people involved  and  to find the link to the digital special issue.

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Bramham

I’ve always known that late 17th/ early 18thc gardens and landscapes have a special quality about them,  but a visit I made last month proved it beyond doubt.  So to get the New Year off to a flying start let me tell you about Bramham, a Grade 1  listed landscape in Yorkshire, which has hardly changed since work started there in 1698.

Bramham’s entry,    or rather entries, because there are over 20 separate listings for buildings and garden features as well as the house and whole park,   listed by Historic England,   is factual but rather dry. It simply doesn’t convey anything of the mix of grandeur and intimacy, awe, wonder and amusement or the silent but powerful “genius of the place” you encounter when walking around.

Nicholas Pevsner in his Buildings of England  was impressed too: “if ever house and gardens must be regarded as one ensemble, it is here. Bramham is a grand and unusual house, but its gardens are grander and even more unusual.”

 

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