Garden News


The Friends are able to offer two new illustrated talks which, in these changed times, can be delivered to a group by Zoom. We can also deliver a more general talk on the history of Caversham Court Gardens.  The talks are delivered by our volunteers for a donation to the gardens.  Any community group interested in any of the presentations are invited to contact our Secretary at

The new talks are:-
Green Fever
The story of how some of our most popular garden plants arrived in Britain and the adventures of plant hunters who sought them in their travels around the World.

The Kitchen Garden
This talk follows successful tours of the walled garden at Caversham Court Gardens in September.  The talk looks at the history of kitchen gardens and allotments.

A new floral display has been prepared for the undercroft to brighten up the winter gloom.  It was prepared by our Treasurer Hester Casey.

The Friends are working with Reading College to produce a series of short videos with audio commentary to display major features of the gardens.  It is intended that the videos will link to a clickable map on this website.  The videos will enable visitors to learn more of the garden either before visiting or when on site.

Filming by students on a media studies course began in mid-October using a gimbal funded by the Friends using money received in memory of long time supporter and committee member Mike Eggleton.
 The gimbal is a pivoted support that allows rotation of a camera. The students are directed by their lecturer Adam Goldstein. We are grateful to Amanda Cropper for her part in facilitating this project.

Media students Kamilla and Ben filming at the gardens.

Thursday 1 October.

Caversham and Reading poets displayed some of their
poems in the gardens to celebrate National Poetry Day.

The gardens have provided an oasis of calm during the troubled times of the Covid pandemic. They have been well used and enjoyed by many during the summer months.  As we enter November autumn colours are showing everywhere, on the trees and in our borders.

The blue asters will continue to provide colour until the first frosts.

We have been especially pleased with the white garden just beyond the tea kiosk.  It was planted four years ago and is now maturing nicely.  The hydrangeas bear a sea of large white blooms amongst the white bark of the Himalayan birch trees which share this shady corner of the lower lawn. 

These impressive hydrangea plants are of the variety Annabelle.  They have by now lost their bright colour but the heads will remain until pruned in spring.

We appreciate the sketches below, two of several received from local artist Mary Phelan showing visitors relaxing in summer sunshine in the gardens.


The Bhutan pine, one of our favourite trees in the garden, has been showing signs of stress for at least a year or so.  The canopy has become thinner this year with some branches showing marked deterioration following the recent prolonged period of dry weather.  It is not the only tree suffering under these conditions, the neighbouring tulip tree on the lawn and the black walnut also show worrying signs of stress as are some of the younger trees nearer the river bank. Our concerns have been conveyed to Reading Borough Council. We have proposed that the Bhutan pine should be watered, mulched and the area around it fenced off to prevent further soil compaction due to footfall.  In the interim, we appreciate the efforts of Will, our gardener, and several volunteers for watering the worst affected trees in the garden and hope that we might see significant rainfall to assist in this process.

We are sad to report that the Diocese have had to fell one of the signature limes near the Rectory this week. It was one of two common limes near our entrance gates which have borne huge clusters of mistletoe in their upper reaches.  The tree had to be felled because it was causing damage to the perimeter wall.  The Diocese has now replaced the felled tree with a small leaved lime (see below). Small leaved limes are relatively uncommon these days but were originally the dominant lime species. They suffered from over competition in woodlands and slowness to reproduce so have been replaced in most situations by the common hybrid lime.

Also, Reading Borough Council has planted a new copper beech in front of the stable block, which has just now come into leaf.


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.

Our new video for Heritage Open Days is here:

Welcome to Caversham Court Gardens

The gallery garden will be at its best during the end of June and early July as the lavender and other nectar rich species are in flower attracting bees and other insect life.  From afar the lavender bank yields the pattern and colours of an Impressionist painting.

The image above was taken from the top of the lavender bank as species began to flower with purple Hidcote lavender, the light green false dittany (Ballota) and the yellow flowered cotton lavender (Santolina) beyond.  Other species to look out for are blue flowering mint like hyssop and reddish brown Japanese Berberis. Ctedinopperkm