Britain in Bloom judges tour ReadingBy Linda Fort
July 12, 2010
The Britain in Bloom judges began their tour of the borough at the “impressive” Caversham Court Gardens last Wednesday.
Last year, the garden restoration was not complete in time for the judging of the annual Royal Horticultural Society competition. But this year the Reading in Bloom committee was able to showcase the grounds which have been open for almost a year after a £1.6 million restoration, thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Reading Borough Council horticultural expert Dr Carolyn Jenkins and head gardener Emily Waters showed judges Norman Parker and Steve McKenna around the garden.
They described its restoration and planting which pays tribute to the history of the garden as it changed from a medieval religious settlement to a Regency house and finally to a borough park.
Vickie Abel of the Friends of Caversham Court Gardens described how the garden had become part of the community with events, tours and visits from local schools.
Mr Parker said after his tour: “It is very impressive. I am tremendously impressed by the work that has been done here. It is very beautiful with many lovely ideas.”
The judges were then taken on a tour of Reading’s beauty spots, via Reading Bridge which is newly decorated with hanging baskets thanks to the sponsorship of Jessica Cecil, patron of Reading in Bloom.
They saw Forbury Gardens, restored several years ago with another Heritage Lottery Fund grant, as well as the recently replanted King’s Road Garden.
In East Reading, the judges saw the secluded garden at the Museum of Rural Life in Redlands Road and were shown the seasonal bedding displays at Royal Berkshire Hospital.
They also met gardener Dave Richards at the RISC roof garden in London Street before calling in at Holiday Inn South and Green Park, which both sponsor Reading in Bloom.
At Prospect Park, they were told about the conservation regime and the landscape management plan and shown the wildflower meadow.
Church End Primary School in Usk Road, Tilehurst, winner of last year’s Reading in Bloom Schools Challenge, showcased the work of its garden club run by caretaker Bob Brigham.
Judges also called in at the gardens at Reading Association for the Blind in Carey Street and the almshouses in Castle Street before meeting Guy Douglas, BID manager, to see the town centre floral displays.
The tour finished at Reading Minster to see the trees planted in the Trees for Cities scheme.
Reading has won a Silver gilt medal in recent years and the committee has high hopes it could scoop a gold this year.