Wednesday 22 April, 7.30 p.m. (refreshments from 7.00 p.m.) at Reading Canoe Club, The Warren, Caversham, RG4 7TH.

A brief A.G.M. will be followed by a talk from our guest speaker.

Our speaker at this years A.G.M. is historian and broadcaster Sir Roderick Floud.  His latest book looks at exactly how much all our world-famous gardens actually cost to develop and maintain.  In preparation, try keeping a list of just how much  you spend on your own garden!

Saturday 22 February, 10.30 a.m. at The Griffin, Church Street, Caversham.

Volunteers meet to discuss ideas for events in the gardens during 2020.  We invite any of our friends to join us for 90 minutes to consider the programme for this spring and summer.  Come along for a cup of coffee; all new ideas welcome.



We are delighted that relaying of the house footprint was completed in December.  Limestone from Vraca (Vratsa), Bulgaria, has been used to outline the main 'rooms' of the Victorian house, with composite concrete around the entrance area.  A new feature is that oak has been used to mark doorways, whereas the thresholds were previously delineated in the same stone as the walls showing the 19th century mansion.


A successful carol service was held in St Peter's Church on 16 December,  Because of a forecast of heavy rain showers the service had to be transferred from the gardens to the church this year.  St Peter's was full to capacity with some 40 people unable to enter but who followed the service gathered around the porch.  The service was compered by Simon Thomas and the singing led by the choir of St Peter's Church and the band of the local Salvation Army.  We are grateful to the rector of St Peter's for hosting the evening, to Linda Humphreys-Evans for organising the event and to tea kiosk volunteers for supplying mulled wine and mince pies for those attending.  Thank you also to the several sponsors of the evening whose support was detailed in the carol booklet and is greatly appreciated.


CADRA have commissioned and recently installed an illustrated panel about William Marshal on the viewing platform of Caversham Bridge.  The panel looks towards Dean's Farm where his home was thought to be and where he died on 14 May 1204.

Marshal (the Earl of Pembroke) was lord of the manor of Caversham.  He is reported to have given the land between the churchyard and the river (which includes the current gardens) to the Augustinian Notley Abbey in the 12th Century.  He had a reputation as Englands greatest knight and served five sovereigns, ruling the country as regent to the young King Henry III.  As regent he was responsible for ensuring the survival of Magna Carta after King John's death.

More information is available on


The Friends held a photography competition earlier this year to celebrate 10 years since the refurbished gardens opened in the summer of 2009. We invited all our visitors to submit pictures which capture the spirit of the gardens through the seasons.  

To see some of the best entries and the winner - see Photography Competition.

Sunday 2 June

A successful fundraising day was held in the Gardens organised by 'Made in Caversham'
The event was well supported by visitors, the 'Friends' and by members of the Caversham Croquet Club. Those who participated enjoyed this tactical battle of mallet, hoops and balls re-creating a game which would have been played on the lawns of Caversham Court in its Victorian heyday.  The afternoon was enhanced by some lively music from the Abbey jazz Trio and tea and cakes available from the ever popular tea kiosk.

Sunday 1 September

Some 20 children joined volunteers led by our treasurer Hester to create a colourful collage for the garden inspired by its flowers.  A great time was had by all and the impressive end product had an important message for us 'Flowers need bees and bees need flowers

This year we have enjoyed educational visits from local schools which have used the gardens as a link to their studies of issues such as global warming, local history and architecture.

Pupils from Caversham Primary School enjoyed two days of visits in the summer to consider the importance of our trees in mitigating the effects of aerial pollution and some of the harmful effects of climate change.


More recently children from St Martin's Catholic Primary School, Caversham visited to enjoy a session with Gemma Solanellas designed as a practical approach to learn and have fun through heritage with hands on activities.  The pupils
enjoyed hearing about the gardens and their buildings, past and present, and were encouraged to observe, draw and erect a model from cards showing architectural features of the 17th century gazebo.