On a rather dull, but dry, day in June a group of NAP members were taken through all the garden areas at Newstead Abbey by Philip Jones, an expert on historic gardens and a garden tour guide at the abbey. We learned about the history of each section, from the original monastic garden, the developments by the Byron family, then by Thomas Wildman in the early 19th century, and by Frederick Webb in the late 19th century, and his daughters and grandchildren in the 20th century. More recent changes by the Nottingham City Council gardeners were visited and explained.
The group were obviously very curious about all kinds of issues and designs, as the tour took nearly twice as long as usual!
Any questions about plants were answered by Michael Riley, who has specialist knowledge of plants. The curator of the abbey, Haidee Jackson, came along too and was able to fill in some other details about the general history of the abbey.
It was a very worthwhile experience for all the members that attended. We were privileged to gain such a broad understanding of the gardens from the expertise of people who also happen to be members of NAP.
Report and images by Derek Wileman