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Kent Diary Discussion: 01 November 2015

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November talk to the East Kent AGS

Go to latest contribution by Tim Ingram, 07 December 2015, 10:19. Go to bottom of this page.

Contribution from John Richards 06 December 2015, 17:17top / bottom of page
Lady with the hat

Goodness, Tim, I have just caught up with the notice for Ursula Buchan's talk on November 1st. Assuming you attended, perhaps you can enlighten us as to the identity of the self-effacing lady with the FABULOUS straw hat (looks like Fanny Cradock!), and whether she habitually gardened in those stylish and totally impractical shoes?

Contribution from Tim Ingram 07 December 2015, 10:19top / bottom of page

John - our computer has given up after ten years so I haven't been able to write up Ursula Buchan's talk to us until now - aim to do so before long. Valerie Finnis lived in, you could reasonably say, quite a privileged world of gardeners, but having said this she was herself a very skilled, hard working and knowledgeable plants-lady and a fine photographer who knew a wide cross section of the horticultural community of the time.  Anyone in the alpine world will know of her collection of saxifrages at Waterperry and her photographs of plants in Anna Griffith's 'Collins Guide to Alpines', which is the reason why we invited Ursula Buchan to speak to us. Ursula's talk was based on the book that she wrote resulting from her friendship with Valerie Finnis and the photographs of personalities that Valerie Finnis knew. So this particular, rather unconvincing gardener(!) was Lady Birley who I know nothing more about (apart from the observation that she didn't wear the kind of clothing that Valerie Finnis and hands-on gardeners will wear!). Many of the gardeners featured in Ursula's book were pe-eminent horticulturists, botanists and plant collectors (people like Primrose Warburg, Frank Ludlow and George Sherriff, Ken Aslet, Will Ingwerson...) - hence 'the Golden Age of Plantsmanship', which is still around even if not so evident, particularly within the specialist plant societies.

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