Newsletter SPRING 2022

Bhutan pine

We said farewell to the ailing Bhutan pine next to the Tea Kiosk on 11 February. A replacement tree of the same species is to be planted close to the site of the old one. Tree wardens and members of the Friends have been helping to spread bark chippings from the old Bhutan pine under the family yew and other trees in the gardens which are currently showing signs of stress due to climate change and soil conditions.

Events for your diary

Volunteers' meeting, Saturday 5 March

We need your ideas! The Friends have booked Church House (next to Waitrose) for a face-to-face meeting on Saturday 5 March, 10.00 to 12.00. please come along with suggestions for events, gardening work parties, historical research, website assistance etc. The upstairs room (lift available to the rear of the building) is spacious and we can open windows, but do wear a mask if you feel more comfortable. It would help to know numbers; so pleas e-mail if you can join us. Coffee/tea provided!

If you are hesitant about coming along in person, do send in your ideas, and we'll be pleased to discuss on the 'phone or by Zoom.

Mothering Sunday, 27 March

The Tea Kiosk aims to be open for the year on 27 March, if the necessary repairs have been carried out in the Tea Kiosk.

Sunday 3 April, 2.00 to 4.30 p.m. - with music and a safari!

Weather permitting the friends will open their 2022 season in the gardens on the First Sunday of April (3 April),when our volunteer guides will be in the gardens to welcome visitors and offer guided tours. We will also have Chord Capers, Caversham's very own ukelele group, to make the afternoon go with a song. And for children, there'll be a very special Toy Animal Safari.

The Tea Kiosk plans to be open from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.. Lets hope for fine weather.

Even if you have had a guided tour in the past, there is more to learn about the houses that were on the site and the families who lived in them. Our historians and speakers have not been idle during lockdown, as you will see if you look on the History pages of the Friends' website (

The sculptor-in -residence at Lavender Place (Central Reading), Andrew Hood, will be coming on one of our First Sundays to give a demonstration of stone sculpture - we're just waiting to know when the vinery awning will be in place so he has shelter, then we'll send out the date.

Easter Saturday Nature Trail, 16 April, 2.00 to 4.00 p.m.

We also hope to run the children's Easter Nature Trail on Easter Saturday (16 April).

Spring Talk and 2022 A.G.M., 27 April, 7.00 for 7.30 p.m.

This will be at the Reading Canoe Club on the Warren. Our speaker will be Richard Bisgrove, co-author of 'Gardening in the Global Greenhouse - the Impacts of Climate Change on Gardens in the U.K." He will give an illustrated talk on Climate Change and Historic Gardens. The Canoe Club is spacious and well-ventilated.

We hope to be able to run this as a face-to-face meeting, but if regulations change we can go back to Zoom.

Caversham Court Timeline

Ever since the project to re-enterpret the history of Caversham Court which resulted in the refurbishment of 2009, members of the Friends have been researching the history of the houses that stood on the site and the families that lived in them over the centuries. Historian Gill Clark has put together a timeline of this latest research. This has been lodged with the Berkshire Records Office and will be available to consult. Read important contributions to local history on our website here:

The Long Wall

Cliveden Conservation are starting a survey of the Long Wall along the Warren on the western edge of the allotments. this forms the perimeter of the St Peters Conservation Area. Often described as a heated wall, this has puzzled the Friends for a very long time, since none of the many experts we have consulted can suggest how it worked. We welcome this opportunity forCliveden Conservation to undertake a full survey of the wall and, with luck, reveal its secrets. Please note there will be no parking along the wall on 23 February.


Francis Sarjeant, chuch warden at St Peters Church, has obtained permission from R.B.C. to have a defibrillator installed on the lamp post outside the Rectory. This will be a very valuable community resource and could be vital for St Peters but also for visitors to Caversham Court Gardens. Francis has asked for help in running a crowd-funding campaign to finance the project- any offers of help or any ideas most welcome. The Friends can pass these on to Francis - or come along to the volunteers'gathering on Saturday 5 March.

Vickie Abel, Chair, Friends of Caversham Court Gardens