Volunteers Update Session
Saturday 3 March 2018, 10.00 to noon.

All current and potential volunteers are welcome to The Griffin in Church Road (upstairs meeting room) for an update on FCCG affairs and work in the gardens, and to help draw up plans for 2018. Will volunteers bring along ideas for activities that you would like to see in the gardens and for Heritage Open Days. It would be helpful if volunteers could e-mail or drop a note in the letter box in the Stable Yard, so that we have an idea of numbers; but whatever your main area of interest - gardening, history, events - please come along.

Mothering Sunday - Tea Kiosk
Sunday 11 March 2018, 11.00 to 5.00 p.m.

The Tea Kiosk will be opening for Mothering Sunday.  If the weather is favourable, the kiosk may open Tuesday to Sunday for the rest of March, but note the if.  The tea kiosk will certainly be open for the Easter Egg Trail (see below) and on Easter Sunday, 1 April.

Easter Egg Trail in Caversham Court
Easter Saturday 31 March 2018, 2.00 to 4.00 p.m.

Come along to Caversham Court on Easter Saturday, when the Friends of Caversham Court Gardens will be hosting an Easter Egg Trail on a nature theme in the lovely riverside gardens.  All young competitors will win an Easter egg (or non-dairy) prize.  All children must be accompanied by an adult.  Entry is free, but donations to the Friends of Caversham Court Gardens will be appreciated.  The Tea Kiosk will be open for refreshments all afternoon.  For further information, e-mail HYPERLINK ""

Annual General Meeting
Reading Canoe Club, The Warren, Caversham
RG4 7TH.
Wednesday 26 April, 7.00 p.m for 7.30 p.m.

The briefest possible AGM will be followed by an illustrated talk by garden historian Kate Felus.  Based on her book, The Secret Life of the Georgian Garden, Kate Felus will reveal the previously untold story of how great landscapes were used in the eighteenth century.  The smooth turf of the parkland provided for thrilling carriage driving in the Georgian equivalent of the Ferrari, the lake gave opportunities for fishing and boating (including mock sea battles with real canons) and eye-catchers provided places for eating and drinking, afternoon naps and illicit liaisons.

The book has been widely reviewed; writing in The Times Adrian Tinniswood called it '...a pioneering work and an important addition to the literature of the country house.  More than that it is a thoroughly entertaining read'.  In the FT Weekend, Robin Lane Fox wrote that 'it was 'exceptionally enjoyable, written with style and humour and packed with little known sources, including 71 unusual illustrations'.

Dr Kate Felus is a garden historian.  In her freelance consultancy she has researched and written restoration plans for a wide range of designed landscapes from Elizabethan water gardens to Edwardian seaside parks.  Kate is an experienced public speaker and her talks are laced with the same lavish illustrations and entertaining detail as the book. l/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif

Stories by the Riverside
Sunday 19 August, 2.00 to 4.30 p.m.

The Getting Reading reading team are joining the Friends for another afternoon of stories and crafts for young book-lovers.  Further details will follow.


Reading Tree Wardens Book Launch

May Day saw the successful out-of-doors book launch of The Shady Side of Town. Reading's Trees (Two Rivers Press) by Adrian Lawson (author)and Geoff Sawers (illustrator).  They and Reading Tree Wardens, working in partnership, extended an invitation to a choice of morning walks around Reading followed by a picnic and tree related events in the gardens in the afternoon. The event was well supported both for the walks and for the visit to the gardens.

Storytelling in Caversham Court Garden

The Friends got together with Get Reading, Reading for an afternoon of storytelling and creative crafts as part of the Reading Children's Festival.  Children were able to explore the beautiful riverside gardens on a trail featuring their favourite storybook characters.  Storyteller Anne Latto narrated tales of wonder in the mysterious undercroft overlooking the river.  There were books to read and stories to hear on the river bank and under the trees.  The children made enchanting birds in the vinery with Hester and joined Jenny weaving magic around the mulberry tree!  The Tea Kiosk served hot and cold drinks and home-made cake

Christmas Carol Concert
The Friends organised a successful carol concert in the Gardens on 19 December.  Visitors warmed themselves with mulled wine and mince pies served by volunteers from local charities who man the tea kiosk from spring through to late autumn.  The carol concert was compered by national sports presenter Simon Thomas whose enthusiasm mirrored that of the Reading Salvation Army band and the choir of St Peter's Church (director Ian Westley) which led the singing of carols and of the Rector, Reverend Mike Smith. Generous donations allowed us to cover the cost of the event and were shared with the church bell ringers  and the Salvation Army. The event was well stewarded by Friends who ensured a safe and enjoyable evening. 

Simon Thomas with concert organiser Linda Humphreys-Evans and the Reading Salvation Army band.


Talk at the 2017 AGM

Friends filled the large function room at Reading Canoe Club on 26 March for the 2017 AGM and to hear our guest speaker Travis Elborough deliver an interesting talk entitled 'A Walk in the Park'.  The illustrated talk provided a fascinating social history of parks. It extended from their medieval life as royal hunting grounds and private estates to todays public spaces teeming with activity. 
The talk was based on the book 'A Walk in the Park' seen here with the author. 

Travis' book has been widely praised by critics and is due for re-issue in paperback form later this year.

Christmas Carols at Caversham Court Gardens

The choir of St Peter's Church led the singing for an evening of traditional Christmas carols in Caversham Court Gardens on 18 December.  Members of the Reading Central Salvation Army Band joined us for an enjoyable evening of festive music.  The event was organised by one of our volunteers Linda Humphreys-Evans, the evening MC.

We were delighted to welcome 600 people to the floodlit gardens and thank them for their donations to the gardens.  Thanks also for the support of Phillip Baker Property, Purple Turtle, Lax Events and Reading Borough Council.