Reading Amateur Regatta welcomes Dusseldorf crews, 11-12 June.

It is all systems go this year for the Reading Amateur Regatta. Visiting international crews will include crews from Dusseldorf who will be taking part in special challenge races on Saturday 11 June and Sunday 12 June, as well as regular races.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Reading Dusseldorf Association which was set up after the Second World War by Reading Mayor, Phoebe Cusden. The anniversary celebrations will include an exchange of civic del;egations in June, exhibitions in Reading Museum and in Dusseldorf and a special Reading-Dusseldorf 75 years of friendship photo competition. During the reading Amateur Regatta, there will be presentations for the Dusseldorf crews in Caversham Court Gardens on the Saturday.

The Reading Amateur Regatta is this year celebrating its 180th anniversary. Back in the 19th century, prize-giving ceremonies were often held on the lawns of Caversham Court (then known as The Old Rectory). In 1870, for example, local newspapers reported that silver presentation cups donated by the wealthy industrialists of Reading were filled with champagne from the cellars of the Simonds family of bankers and brewers who owned the estate at the time.

Gifts to the Dusseldorf crews this year will include copies of 'Caversham Couirt Gardens A Heritage Guide' as a souvenir of their visit to Caversham and Reading.

For more information go to and http;//

Tango Dance at Caversham Court Gardens, Sunday 19 June 3.00 to 6.00 p.m.

Permission has been granted by Reading Borough Council for a Tango Dance in the gardens in aid of the Ukraine Crisis Appeal of the British Red Cross. Organised by Tango Risque, there is no need to book beforehand just turn up on 19 June to dance.

Sculpture Demonstration by Andrew Hood, Sunday 3 July, 2.00 to 4.30 p.m.

A sculpture demonstration by Andrew Hood is to take place in the gardens on 3 July. Andrew is the sculpture in residence at Lavender Place in Reading.

Fun Dog Show, Sunday 24 July

The Ways and Means Trust will be holding their Fun Dog Show in the gardens on 24 July. Further details to be confirmed.

Caversham Chord Capers ukelele band will provide musical accompaniment and the Friends of Reading Museum and the Friends of Reading Abbey will be coming along to join in the fun.



Our spring talk on 27 April was delivered by Richard Bisgrove who spoke about 'Climate Change and Historic Gardens'.

Richard is the joint author of a pivotal paper 'Gardening in the Global Greenhouse - The Impacts of Climate Change on Gardens in the U.K." written in 2002. His illustrated talk considered changes in many historic gardens over the last 150 years, very obvious in some such as the one at Blenheim Palace and the canalised Westbury Court Gardens in Gloucestershire. in the latter, climate change had resulkted in increased flooding and loss of canal side hedges due to Phytophthora root rot which can be a major issue in waterlogged soils. Elsewhere, such as at Cliveden, the National Trust had moved to a more sustainable pattern of planting by using herbaceous species rather than annual bedding plants which demand the use of fossil fuels to raise tender young plants in heated glasshouses.

Richard indicated thatclimate change would result in higher mean annual temperatures with greater warming in the summer and autumn than in the winter. Winters would be milder with a reduced temperature range and fewer frosts. Mean annual rainfall was likely to decrease with more rain falling in winter than in summer and that rain would also fall with greater intensity. All these changes would have an effect on plant growth and on the ways in which we design, plant and manage gardens in the future.

HALLOWEEN (30 and 31 October)

The Friends participated in the Caversham Halloween Trail on the last Saturday and Sunday of October. Many families visited the gardens to seek a fantastic array of spooky characters lurking in the gardens. The imaginative models were the work of The Friends Treasurer, Hester Casey, who is a textile artist. They were produced from re-used and recycled material.

A steady stream of adults and children visited after early rain on both days. Much fun was had seeking the spooky characters - the mad monk in his cell in the vault, bats in the vinery roof, spiders dangling from a fir tree and a spectacular but ghostly white figure peering out of the tall yew hedge, his hands ready to grab any unsuspecting visitor strolling along the Long Walk. Children especially liked visiting the witches cavern in the Undercroft and were properly spooked by three ghostly sisters high in a riverside tree. No doubt many were pleased to find safe refuge at the Tea Kiosk where kiosk volunteers were cheerfully dispensing hot drinks and cakes. Children were equally relieved to leave before nightfall to escape the threat at dusk of fluttering bats, evil crows and creepy spiders.


Children enjoyed seeking a variety of soft toys sourced by Hester Casey and Jill Knight.

The children saw amongs many animal scenes, The Teddy Bears Picnic, Winnie the Pooh, a monkey in a tree, exotic birds and a wonderful scene of swan and ducks.

The afternoon entertainment was enhanced by the loively local ukelele band Caversham Capers who played several favourite tunes while under cover in the vinery. Their music was much enjoyed by visitors.