7 March 2019 – Royal Horticultural Society’s Hyde Hall Garden – Robert Brett

At our last meeting Robert Brett came to talk to us about Hyde Hall, a garden well-known to us as we had visited last summer.  Robert is the Curator of Hyde Hall and started his career in landscaping before moving to Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where he assisted in the management of the orchid collections. He became supervisor of glasshouses at Cambridge University Botanic Garden, then moved to The Eden Project and joined the RHS after working at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Cambridge.

With such a pedigree it is not surprising that he has already made many worthwhile changes at Hyde Hall including developing a Winter walk, a Wild Wood with more than 60,000 trees, a Rose Weekend every June, an October Food Festival, and the creation of a Global Growth Vegetable Garden where the four continents have their own space to show the plants that come from that particular part of the world.  New buildings are springing up to accommodate learning areas, a welcome building and a restaurant – all designed with a Dutch influence – much light, many windows and wonderful views of the surrounding countryside.  Already 4,500 children have visited!  Robert still has much to do with his vision of a large dry garden and the encouragement of wild life, working closely with the Essex Wildlife Trust. Already more native species of plants and birds have appeared.  Robert even has views on the beloved Rose Walk – remember those lovely swags of wonderful roses?  The last time we visited, my friend and I wished that we had brought secateurs to prune them as they were so overgrown and neglected.  Much effort had been put into the new areas but not into the well-loved ones.  And Shock horror, Robert intends to move the Rose Walk altogether as it is not facing the right way!  He is a brave man……

Robert also told us about the changes at RHS Wisley and also the RHS plan to create a stunning new garden in Salford –  the RHS garden Bridgewater is currently the largest gardening project in Europe and will be open to the public in 2020.  Well worth a visit.

Mary Duff

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