Events


PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION



The Friends are holding a photography competition this year to celebrate 10 years since the refurbished gardens opened in the summer of 2009. We invite all our visitors to submit pictures which capture the spirit of the gardens through the seasons.  Closing date for entries - 31 Oct. 2019.  All entries should be sent to friends@fccg.org.uk and identified for the Photo Competition.

Further information and rules of the competition - see Photography Competition.


FIRST SUNDAYS START
ON 7 APRIL

Volunteers will be in the gardens on the FIRST SUNDAYS of the MONTH (2.00 to 4.30 p.m.) starting on 7 April.  

They will be pleased to give guided tours of the gardens on these dates between April and  September, or possibly October, dependent on autumn weather.  If you would like a tour at a time to suit yourself, your family or an organisation you belong to please contact us (friends@fccg.org.uk).
Special sensory tours for the partially sighted or hearing impaired visitors are also available on request.

This year we plan to make more of the First Sundays adding music, crafts and other activities for all the family. The programme is as follows:-
Sunday 7 April, 2.00 to 4.30 p.m.
Guided tours of the gardens, plus music from The Chord Capers Ukulele Band
Sunday 5 May, 2.00 to 4.30 p.m.
Guided tours of the gardens, plus Look, Draw and Build! an architectural trail for children.
Sunday 2 June, 2.00 to 4.30 p.m.
Guided tours of the gardens, plus Family Croquet
Sunday 7 July, 2.00 to 4.30 p.m.
Guided tours of the gardens, Plant up the Wheelbarrow, Gardening for Children
Sunday 4 August, 2.00 to 4.30 p.m.
Guided tours of the gardens.
Sunday 1 September, 2.00 to 4.30 p.m.
Guided tours of the gardens.

Our volunteers will be pleased to give guided tours of the gardens on these dates, no need to book, just turn up.  Tours will give you the history of the site and of the families who lived here over the centuries, as well as introducing the plants and trees in this lovely spot on the bank of the Thames.

If you would like a tour at a time to suit yourself, your family or an organisation you belong to please contact us (friends@fccg.org.uk).  Special sensory tours for the partially sighted or hearing impaired visitors are also available on request.  Look for updates on our Facebook page.

The Tea Kiosk opens on Tuesday 26 March, the Tuesday before Mothering Sunday.  The Tea Kiosk is open from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays but not on Mondays other than on Bank Holidays.  Four charities and Compass Opportunities take it in turn to stock and staff the Tea Kiosk serving hot and cold drinks and home-made cakes.  The four charities are The Ways and Means Trust, Duchess of Kent-Sue Ryder, Women's Institute and The League of Friends of the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

 
(Image - S. Lewis)
WILLIAM MARSHAL
EXHIBITION
Saturday 11 May, 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m., Abbey Gateway, Reading.

The Friends are getting together with CADRA to mark the 800th anniversary of the death of one of Caversham's most illustrious residents, William Marshal.

The Friends produced an exhibition in 2015 to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta which only survived thanks to William Marshal's intervention as Regent for King Henry III.  Marshal died on 14 May 1219 at his manor house in Caversham having ruled England from there for the last months of his life.

The Friends exhibition will be shown in the Abbey Gateway and later, in our Gardens, for the Heritage Open Days in September.

There is more on William Marshal on the CADRA website under Local History.


PLANTS OF THE MONTH (APRIL)


With longer hours of daylight and mild daytime temperatures the gardens are showing an interesting array of spring flowers.  As you walk into the gardens from the main entrance you will see a blue hue of flowers under the elderly black mulberry tree.  These are the small blue and white blooms of Chionodoxa (Glory of the Snows).  They arise from bulbs and are encouraged by spring snow cover yet we have seen little of the white stuff this past winter.  Small areas were blooming last year but this years display is more impressive and some individual plants seem to have now appeared outside the barrier surrounding the mulberry tree.



Up on the winter garden there are many red flowering candelabra of Bergenia (Elephants Ear - a good description of the underlying thick green leaves).  Further along against the boundary wall are the blue flowers of Ceanothus (Californian Lilac) sheltering from frost to which it is very susceptible and in the border beyond there are the yellow grape like floral formations of a tougher character Mahonia, with its holly-like leaves.



At present the dominant colours in the herbaceous borders are the white and orange-red of tulip blooms, The more recently introduced white ones being especially impressive this year.  



A recent volunteers work party has cut back over-wintering fronds of ferns on the eastward facing wall of the causeway to enable new spring growth to unfurl. You might also notice that the orange and yellow coloured stems of Cornus (Dogwood) have also had a haircut; trimming to almost ground level encourages strong spring growth and enhanced stem colour later in the year.




SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF 2018

Green Flag Award

The Friends are pleased to announce that Caversham Court Gardens has won the Green Flag and Green Heritage Site awards again this year. This is the ninth year the gardens have won these awards.  

The Green Flag award is awarded to parks and green spaces that are welcoming, healthy, safe and secure and are well maintained.  Green Heritage Site status aims to promote the value of and best practices in the care and upkeep of historic sites.


Britain in Bloom

Reading won a silver gilt award in the Thames and Chilterns Region competition of Britain in Bloom. Reading also won a silver gilt award in the 'city' class of the national competition this year. The class was won by Aberdeen whilst the overall title Champion of Champions was secured by the city of Truro. 

The Friends contributed to Reading's entry in both competitions by funding the superb border of coleus and begonias in the vinery and by running a project for children who planted up an old wheelbarrow. The judges were impressed with the vinery and the stumpery funded by the Friends as well as the children's efforts when they were judging the gardens in the summer.

Heritage Open Days

This years theme focussed on suffragettes to mark the century of women gaining the vote.  Volunteer guides offered guided tours of the gardens on 8 and 9 of September and, in the gazebo, displayed a small exhibit about 'Inspirational Women of Caversham'.  This exhibition has recently been on display in Caversham Library.