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Decision time

It’s decision time.  Last year, the Garden History Society and the Association of Gardens Trusts voted in principle, to a merger of the two organisations. The final decision will be made during the AGMs of the two organisations at Newcastle University on Friday 24 July.Members of a Transitional Committee have been working on the documentation needed before a decision can be made and the next step taken.  All the material can be viewed on a temporary website

Congratulations and a welcome are due in both organisations.  Congratulations to Dominic Cole (Chairman of the Garden History Society) for the OBE he received for services to garden conservation.  The big welcome goes to Caroline Ikin, the Association of Gardens Trusts’ new Historic Landscape Officer.

You can find information about the counties in which Caroline is working at http://www.gardenstrusts.org.uk/hlp.html.  At the same time, catch up on the latest material available at the Historic Landscape Project Resource Hub.  It’s easy to access and there’s a mass of information to help County Gardens Trusts with their conservation work – everything from recruiting volunteers to understanding and preparing conservation management plans.

Equally easy to access is the recently created County Gardens Trust email discussion group.  Thank you Linden and Caroline for giving members a simple way to converse and to share news.  59 members and growing…

There’s an unusual exhibition to enjoy at the Garden Museum this summer –Gnome and Away: Secrets of the Collection.  It marks both an ending and a beginning in the life of the Museum. The builders move in on 2nd November and its transformation into an even more exciting exhibition and education space will begin. This latest exhibition gives us a taste of what is to come.

Gnome and Away’ will include over 100 artefacts never displayed before.  As Christopher Woodward writes in the latest Garden Museum Journal, ‘It gives a first glimpse of the collection that will go on display in the five new galleries that will open to the public early in 2017’.

From William Robinson’s cloak to a slide box belonging to nurseryman and plant hunter, Peter Veitch, there’s plenty to intrigue any gardener – and might even entice a non-gardener. http://www.gardenmuseum.org.uk/page/gnome-away-secrets-of-the-collection

Slightly further north, Compton Verney’s summer 2015 exhibition ‘The Arts and Craft House, is running until 13 September, 2015.  Part of the project is a recent commission by landscape designer Dan Pearson – to transform the West Lawn into a wild-flower meadow mown with a William Morris design.  It’s a design that will develop and diversify in the years to come.

The commission is important for many reasons, not least because Dan is the first garden designer to have worked on the grounds at Compton Verney since Capability Brown.  Gary Webb, Compton Verney’s Head of Landscape and Gardens, includes a video clip in his latest blog showing the way in which the clever design has been brought to life.  https://comptonverneylandscapegarden.wordpress.com/

Is a prize-winning photograph the result of technical know-how? Or does it also depend on a deep understanding of the subject matter? Many County Gardens Trust members will certainly have the latter when it comes to Capability Brown and his landscapes.  As part of the tercentenary Festival, International Garden Photographer of the Year has joined forces with the National Trust to present a special award – Capability Brown Today.  Keen photographers, whether amateur or professional will find details here http://www.capabilitybrown.org/news/international-garden-photographer-year-capability-brown-special-award

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