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2013


Friends of the Porter's Garden
Thirteenth Annual General Meeting
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust
22 March 2013

Twelfth Annual Report


Written in March - William Wordsworth

The cock is crowing,
The stream is flowing,
The small birds twitter,
The lake doth glitter
The green field sleeps in the sun;
The oldest and youngest
Are at work with the strongest;
The cattle are grazing,
Their heads never raising;
There are forty feeding like one!

Like an army defeated
The snow hath retreated,
And now doth fare ill
On the top of the bare hill;
The plowboy is whooping- anon-anon:
There's joy in the mountains;
There's life in the fountains;
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing;
The rain is over and gone!

Midsummer Garden Party

Our Midsummer Diamond Jubilee Garden Party on Sunday 23 June 2012 did not, sadly, take place – because we had sold only 15 tickets by the preceding Thursday. It was thought that the very wet summer, combined with more than usual garden parties to celebrate the Jubilee, and the Olympics were possible reasons. It was a shame, because we had put much thought into delectable 1950s treats. This experience prompted us to rethink what we would do in future years, and we decided to hold the 2013 party in September, for a change, as Midsummer often clashes with Father’s Day.

News in the Garden

On 1 & 2 September 2012 Dr Ann Coats led a tour of the Porter's Lodge and Garden for the local Heritage Open Days. Ann spoke about the Garden and the porters who lived in the lodge and worked in the dockyard. The visitors were very interested in the house, the garden and the porters who lived in the lodge and worked in the dockyard. On the following Sunday, the 9th, a choral performance by Singing for Water was led by Janet Ayers for the charity Water Aid. This always attracts an enthusiastic audience and fills up the garden with people and song.

The crocuses have looked magnificent on the square lawn and the Tête-à-tête narcissi are really wonderful under the new walnuts. There are sweet peas for sale and Cris has sown poppy seeds.  Foxgloves will be purchased for the shady bed and wind flowers for the herb bed.  Valerian will be moved to the herb bed. Pauline has planted up the new tub and we are waiting for spring to do the new plantings. John pruned the Judas tree and damson tree and one of the cherries on 6 March, with one more cherry needing pruning.  Their new growth has been tied in.

Visits and Events

The Friends celebrated an autumn lunch on 27 September 2012 at Chimes, organised by Margaret Judd, and a further lunch at the Toby Carvery in Hilsea. Margaret also organised visits to Abbey Road Fareham, Appleton House Soberton and The Homestead Hayling Island.

Peter Goodship, the Chief Executive of the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, treated the Friends to a superb Christmas Dinner at Chesil Rectory in December, followed by an illuminating tour of Winchester Cathedral. Both were really memorable and would be repeated with pleasure.

The statue of St Fiacre was unveiled on a bitterly cold 6 February 2013 by Reverend Keith Robus, Naval Base Chaplain, before a gathering of Friends. John Phillipson, the sculptor, described how he made it and Dr Ann Coats explained why we had selected this saint as our patron. An obvious reason is that he is the patron saint of gardeners. He is believed to have been born in Ireland in the late C6 and sailed to France to seek solitude for his devotions.  There he made a cell with a garden, and established a chapel and hospice for travellers, a suitable exemplar for our garden, which is a restful place for dockyard visitors.

The Website, thanks to John Scott, keeps members up to date with what’s going on in the Porter’s Garden at:  www.portersgarden.hampshire.org.uk Hampshire County Council supports the Friends of the Porter's Garden - as a community organisation - by hosting the web site and providing free 50MB of web space.

Volunteers

The Friends value the contributions made by all the volunteers during this year.

Donations

The Friends thank Gill Dawe for continuing to donate plants in such generous quantities, and keeping our Plant Stand stocked with unusual and beautiful varieties.

Thanks especially to the Porter’s Garden Committee Friends:
 

  • Pauline Powell for her hard work as Secretary and Lorraine and Joan for stepping in to take the meeting minutes
  • John Scott for updating our excellent website
  • Cristine as Treasurer, for keeping us fully informed as to our finances, and approving Pauline’s spending
  • Margaret Judd, Social Secretary, assisted by Val Pennycook, for arranging interesting garden visits and lunches
  • All the other Committee members for their valuable input to meetings
  • Last, but not least to Peter Goodship, Lorraine Carpenter, Karol Jefferies and the PNBPT staff for their support
  • We have also had much help in the Garden from Peter Lambert’s Maintenance Team, for which we are very grateful, in particular for the new compost bins
  • The ‘Diggers’ for hundreds of hours digging, watering, propagating, composting, lawn care, historical and horticultural research, designing, use of petrol to collect plants, emails and telephone calls, administration, photographs, plants, tools, fertiliser and sundries


Dr Ann Coats
Coordinator,
21 March 2013
 

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2012

Friends of the Porter's Garden
Eleventh Annual General Meeting
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust
March 2012

Eleventh Annual Report

Note by webmaster: The text was produced from a paper copy of the report by optical character recognition because an electronic copy of the report was not available. The text contains errors generated during the conversion process. 31-Jan-2013

Friends of the Porter's Garden
Eleventh Annual General Meeting
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust
2 2 March 2 0 12
Eleventh Annual Report

First follow Nature, and your judgement frame By her just standard, which is still the same: Unerring NATURE, still divinely bright,
One clear, unchang'd, and universal light,
Life, force, and beauty, must to all impart,
At once the source, and end, and test of Art. That Artis best which most resembles her, And still presides, yet never does appear Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism (1715)

Midsummer Garden Party

Our Midsummer Garden Party on Sunday 19 lune 2011 celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Friends of the Porter's Garden. As had happened three times before, the guests had to go into Boathouse Six because of wet weather, but it did not detract from their enjoyment. The Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Frank lonas, opened the garden party, remarking that when he was an apprentice in the dockyard the garden had been a car park and that today was the first time that he had seen it in all its glory. Rob Blanken led a clarinet quartet from Portsmouth Grammar School. Rob is principal clarinet in both Havant Orchestras and in Solent Symphony Orchestra and teaches clarinet at Portsmouth High School for Girls and Portsmouth Grammar School. Ianet Ayers led the Albert Road Singers who entertained us marvellously with songs. A special birthday cake added to the festivities.

News in the Garden

There was an excellent crop of Morello cherries this year which ripened very early. They were harvested in lune and yielded many pounds of jam.

The Shropshire Prune (Damson) tree, kindly donated by Penny and Richard Russell, planted in February, bore its ñrst fruit on 29 ]uly 2011, while the Pomegranate flowered for the first time on 7 August 2011. On 10 and 11 September 2011 Dr Ann Coats led a tour of the Porter's Lodge and Garden. There was a good attendance on the Saturday but disappointingly the cellar could not be entered because it was locked. Fewer people attended on the Sunday but they were able to enter the cellar. Both groups were very interested in the house, the garden and the porters who lived in the lodge and worked in the dockyard. The tour was followed on the 11th by a choral performance given by Albert Road Community Choir led by Ianet Ayers in aid of the charity Water Aid.

Visits and Events

Peter Goodship, the Chief Executive of the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, treated the Friends to a fabulous day out to Osborne House on 14 September 2011. They sailed to Cowes on the Sea Plane Tender ST 1502 owned by the Trust. The Weather was kind, the sea smooth and the trip across the Solent lasted about an hour. From the jetty they were bussed to Osborne House and enjoyed coffee and cake before our tour of the house and garden. A highlight was the walled fruit and flower garden restored as part of the contemporary heritage gardens scheme in 2000 and designed by Rupert Golby in the Victorian style. The terrace garden, lohn Brown's walk and memorial bench were also enjoyed. Following a delicious lunch in the Terrace Restaurant there was still time to take in the mix of domesticity and state grandeur of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's country retreat and home before the trip back after a very enjoyable day.

On 29 September 2011 the Friends celebrated lunch at The Brasserie Blanc, Gunwharf Quays, organised by Margaret Iudd.

Tuesday 17th Ianuary 2012 was the centenary of Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his party reaching the South Pole. At midday the Friends of the Porter's Garden laid a wreath at the memorial statue of Scott in the Porter's Garden in remembrance.

On Wednesday 8 February 2012 Professor Tony Pointon opened the Dickens border to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’s birth and the connection with the Pay Office nearby. In 1807, his father Iohn was transferred to Portsmouth Dockyard, moving to 1 Mile End Terrace, now 393 Old Commercial Road, in Iune 1809. Daily he would Walk down Queen Street to Work in the dockyard Pay Office, yards from the Porter's Garden. Charles Dickens was born on 7 February 1812 and five months later the family moved to 16 Hawke Street, close to the dockyard gates. They later moved to a villa in Wish Street (site of present Elm Grove) and at the end of the War, when Charles was three, lohn was transferred to Chatham Dockyard. lean Flack Munday designed a profile of Charles Dickens overlooking the border. The planting scheme features primroses, a spring flower that Charles particularly liked. Red geraniums, another of his favourites, will be planted later in the season. A leaflet has been published to mark the event.

The Web Site, thanks to Iohn Scott, keeps members up to date with what’s going on in the Porter's Garden at: www.p0rtersgarden.hampshire.org.uk

Volunteers

The Friends value the contributions made by all the Volunteers during this year.

Donations

The Friends Wish to thank Gill Dawe for continuing to donate plants in such generous quantities, keeping our Plant Stand stocked with unusual and beautiful Varieties.

Thanks especially to the Porter's Garden Committee Friends:

To Pauline Powell for her indefatigable work as Secretary and to Iohn Scott for updating our beautifully designed and illustrated website. Also to Cristine as Treasurer, who has kept us fully informed as to our finances, and is happy to approve Pauline's spending. Continued thanks are due to Margaret Iudd, Social Secretary, assisted by Val Pennycook, for arranging interesting garden visits. More thanks are due to the other Committee members for their valuable input to meetings, and last but not least to Peter Goodship, Lorraine Carpenter, Karol Iefferies and the PNBPT staff for their support. We have had much help in the Garden from Peter Lambert's Maintenance Team, for which we are very grateful.

To the rest of the ‘Diggers', thanks for hundreds of hours spent digging, watering, propagating, composting, lawn care, historical and horticultural research, designing, use of petrol to collect plants, emails and telephone calls, administration, photographs, plants, tools, fertiliser and sundries.

DrAnn Coats Coordinator, Z2 March 2012
 

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2011

Friends of the Porter's Garden
Eleventh Annual General Meeting
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust
24 March 2011

Tenth Annual Report

This past year

This past year the Friends have devoted thought to introducing a more formal design and planting in keeping with eighteenth century principles and to give the Garden a 'new look' for our tenth anniversary in 2011 (it was officially opened in May 2001). To this end we have opened up a central pathway, lined with box, leading to William III's statue. Two rectangular beds have been created either side of this path, seasonally filled with identical plants, planted formally. This relatively simple adaptation of the existing plan has the advantage of requiring less maintenance while increasing the focus on William III. The lime trees on the western side of this bed have been pruned to emphasise a straight lower edge and two camellias have been potted and displayed in the Raised Garden by Boathouse Six.

Midsummer Garden Party

Held on Sunday 20 June 2010, the Midsummer Garden Party was again the highlight of the year, with appropriately hot weather, beneficent shade being afforded by the walnut trees. The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Paula Riches, opened the garden party accompanied by Mr Alec Smith, the Lord Mayor’s Consort. Councillor Riches unveiled three oval plaques made by John Phillipson, to be displayed on the dockyard wall. They depict Queen Mary II (1689 - 1694), King Charles II (1660 -1685) and Queen Anne (1702 -1714), all of whom had an interest in gardening. They were fixed to the dockyard wall on 23 June 2010. A clarinet quartet from the Portsmouth Grammar School conducted by Rob Blanken played at the party. Following their performance the Festival Players entertained us with songs and dances. Councillor Terry Hall, a previous garden 'opener' drew the first ticket for the bountiful array of raffle prizes. Due to the generous support of the Friends, £420.00 profit was made for the garden.

News in the Garden

On the square lawn in August the lovely Pride of India tree Koelreuteria paniculata was in full bloom with yellow clusters of flowers and some early fruit pods. The pods turn red in autumn, each containing three black seeds. Other common names are golden rain tree, varnish tree and shrimp tree. The tree was donated by Mrs Gilly Drummond OBE DL and planted in 2004.

For the second year running the Friends opened up the Garden and Porter's Lodge for Heritage Open Days on 11 and 12 September. The tour described the development of the garden and the history of the Porter and his extensive accommodation, including a cellar. This was followed on the 12th by a choral performance given by Albert Road Community Choir led by Janet Ayers in aid of the charity Water Aid.

A well decorated pigeon's nest was spotted in one of the walnut trees on 27 October 2010 after the leaves had fallen. The red pods of the Koelreuteria paniculata (Pride of India) tree had been put to good use. In December, for the second successive winter, the garden was delightfully covered in snow, giving it a truly seasonal feel and possible signifying future colder winters.

Our latest acquisition, a Shropshire Prune (Damson) tree, was kindly donated by Penny and Richard Russell in February 2011. A native of the West Midlands, from Shropshire, it has been known since the 17th century. It is described as bearing a prolific small oval blue-black fruit, with excellent flavoured green-yellow flesh. It is compact and reliable, known as the 'greengage of damsons'. It fruits mid-late September and is suitable for cooking. The rootstock is St Julien A. It was planted where an Arbutus Unedo or Strawberry Tree was previously planted. This had succumbed to extreme winds in the last two winters. It is hoped that the damson will prove to be more hardy.

A further new arrival is a finger post directing visitors to the Pique Stone.

Visits and events

The Friends also relax and celebrated their comradeship at an autumn lunch on Friday 22 October 2010 at The Brasserie Blanc, Gunwharf Quays. Our thanks go to Margaret Judd for organizing this and several garden visits through the year, including a visit to snowdrops in the rain! On 20 January 2011 the Friends enjoyed their post-Christmas meal in the Taste of China in Cosham.

Web site

The web site, thanks to John Scott, keeps members up to date with what's going on in the Porter's Garden at:  www.portersgarden.hampshire.org.uk

Volunteers

The Friends have acquired three new volunteers this year. Vince, Raymond and Nadya have become essential additions to the regular team, while Peter Stafford has applied himself diligently to mowing the lawn.

Donations

The Friends wish to thank Gill Dawe for continuing to donate plants in such generous quantities, keeping our Plant Stand stocked with unusual and beautiful varieties. We also gratefully received a donation of a wheelbarrow and an electric mower.

Committee

Most importantly, thanks to the Porter’s Garden Committee Friends.

Thanks especially to Pauline Powell for her indefatigable work as Secretary and to John Scott for updating our beautifully designed and illustrated website. Also to Cristine as Treasurer, who has kept us fully informed as to our finances, and is happy to approve Pauline’s spending. Continued thanks are due to Margaret Judd, Social Secretary, assisted by Val Pennycook, for arranging interesting garden visits. More thanks are due to the other Committee members for their valuable input to meetings, and last but not least to Peter Goodship, Lorraine Carpenter, Karol Jefferies and the PNBPT staff for their support. We have had much help in the Garden from Peter Lambert’s Maintenance Team, for which we are very grateful.

The 'Diggers'

To the rest of the 'Diggers', thanks for hundreds of hours spent digging, watering, propagating, composting, lawn care, historical and horticultural research, designing, use of petrol to collect plants, emails and telephone calls, administration, photographs, plants, tools, fertiliser and sundries.

Dr Ann Coats
Coordinator
24 March 2011
 

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2010


Friends of the Porter's Garden
Tenth Annual General Meeting
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust
18 March 2010

Ninth Annual Report

History of familiar plants

Some plants which are familiar in the garden to the Friends were described by John Gerard (1545-1612) in his Herbal, The Historie of Plants (1597, enlarged 1633), ‘principally intended for gentlewomen.’ (M Woodward, ed, Gerard’s Herbal The Historie of Plants (Senate , London, 1994), xvi.)
Of Pinks, or wild Gillofloures
The double purple Pinke hath manie grassie leaves set upon small jointed stalkes by couples, one opposite against another, whereupon doe grow pleasant double purple floures, of a most fragrant small, not inferior to the Clove Gillofoure: the root is smal and woody. These kindes of Pinkes grow for the most part in gardens…. These are not used in Physicke, but esteemed for their use in Garlands and Nosegays. (Woodward, 136-7.)

Of wilde Marjerome
English wilde Marjerome is exceedingly well known to all, to have long, stiff, and hard stalkes of two cubits high, set with leaves like those of sweet Marjerome, but broader and greater, of a russet greene colour, on the top of the branches stand tufts of purple floures, composed of many small ones set very closely umbell fashion….Organy given in wine is a remedy against the bitings, and stingings of venomous beasts…. (Woodward, 152.)

Of Fox-Gloves
Fox-Glove with the purple floure is most common; the leaves whereof are long, nicked in the edges, of a light greene.…the stalke is straight, from the middle whereof to the top stand the floures, set in a course one by another upon one side of the stalke, hanging downwards with the bottom upward, in forme long, like almost to finger stalkes, whereof it took his name Digitalis, of a red purple colour, with certain white spots dasht within the floure; after which come up round heads, in which lies the seed somewhat browne, and as small as that of Time. The roots are many slender strings. They floure and flourish in June and July. (Woodward, 181-2.)

Of Borage
Borage hath broad leaves, rough, lying flat upon the ground, of a black or swart green colour: among which riseth up a stalke two cubits high, divided into divers branches, whereupon do grow blew floures, composed of five leaves apiece, out of the middle of which grow forth blacke threads joined in the top, and pointed like a broch or pyramide….Those of our time do use the floures in sallads, to exhilarate and make the minde glad. There be also many things made of them, used for the comfort of the heart, to drive away sorrow, & increase the joy of the minde.
I Borage bring alwaies Courage. (Woodward, 185.)

Of Hops
The Hop doth live and flourish by embracing and taking hold of poles, pearches, and other things upon which it climeth. It bringeth forth very long stalkes, rough, and hairie; also rugged leaves broad like those of the Vine, or rather of Bryony, but yet blacker, and with fewer dented divisions: the floures hang downe by clusters from the tops of the branches, puffed up, set as it were with scales like little canes, or scaled Pine apples, of a whitish colour tending to yellownesse, strong of smell….The Hop joyeth in a fat and fruitfull ground…The manifold vertues of Hops do manifest argue the wholesomenesse of beere above ale; for the hops rather make it a physicall drinke to keep the body in health, than an ordinary drinke for the quenching of our thirst. (Woodward, 212-3.)

Of Monkes Hoods
Helmet-floure, or the great Monkes-hood, beareth very faire and goodly blew floures in shape like an Helmet; which are so beautifull, that a man would thinke they were of some excellent virtue…. (Woodward, 230.)

Pomegranates
Pomegranates, new to the garden in 2009, were grown successfully in England in the seventeenth century, but did not set fruit. (J Harvey, Restoring Period Gardens (Shire, Princes Risborough, 1993), 9.) Apropos of re-thinking of beds for 2011, before the 1770s gardens avoided close planting: ‘early gardens showed much bare soil between plants and used little or no ground cover. (Harvey, 19.) From the early eighteenth century formal designs became more natural, with more emphasis on perfumed flowering plants. More foreign species were being introduced, an estimated 1,400 by 1700 and 14,000 by 1800. While less was formerly known about town than grand gardens, excavations and research have revealed more examples of urban designs in the last twenty years, to inform our future actions. (Harvey, 50, 51, 60, 62.)

Midsummer Garden Party

 Held on Sunday 21 June 2009, the Midsummer Garden Party was another great success and the weather was kind. It was a sunny afternoon for celebrating the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession to the throne. The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Terry Hall was pleased to attend and perform the opening ceremony accompanied by her consort, husband John.  Mike Hall, the Chairman of Hampshire Gardens Trust was also in attendance. Mary Rose Trust demonstrated coin striking, there was a game of Nine Men’s Morris for the energetic and there was a surprise visit from the great man himself, Henry VIII.  With a traditional strawberry and scone tea, some additional Tudor sweetmeats and a delicious fruit punch, a good time was had by all. For entertainment there was the St Ann’s Handbell Team and Con Brio, a favourite singing group.  Due to the generous support of the Friends, just over £325.00 profit was made for the garden.
 

Leaflets

The Porter’s Garden information leaflet has been updated and a new leaflet produced about the Pique stone and the voyage of HMS Pique across the Atlantic in 1835.  Both are available in the garden.

New in the Garden

A major project came to fruition on 20 March 2009 when the raised garden was opened by Mike Hall, Chairman of Hampshire Gardens Trust. The extension was designed by Professor Sir Colin Stansfield Smith and features Breedon gravel, a flight of granite steps, a double wall bed and five juglans nigra (Black Walnut) trees. A pomegranate stands at either side of the steps, and stone tubs feature houseleeks and herbs.

Visits and Events

  • Sunday 19 April 2009 seven Friends visited Bramdean House for an NGS open day.  It is a very attractive traditional 6 acre garden with carpets of spring bulbs and mirror herbaceous borders.
  • 5 May 2009 Dr Ann Coats gave a talk on ‘The Porter and his Garden’ to Wickham Historical Society, featuring Porter William Woodrow, who retired to Wickham in 1780.
  • 2 June 2009 Wickham Historical Society visited the Garden. Subsequently Pauline Powell discovered more information about William Woodrow which was passed on to the Society, creating beneficial two-way knowledge transfer.
  • 9 June 2009 Dr Ann Coats gave a talk to Portsmouth Historical Association on ‘The Dockyard Porter: a Gentleman?’
  • Saturday 13 June 2009, to celebrate 25 years of making a difference, Hampshire Gardens Trust held an Anniversary Party at Jermyn’s House near Romsey.  Five Friends went along to this splendid evening event with jazz and picnics in the beautiful grounds of the House.
  • 20 July 2009 eight Friends visited Hill Garden and Kenwood House Garden, both in Hampstead.  Hill Garden is an early 19th century garden redesigned in the early 20th century by Thomas H. Mawson. Its main feature is a wonderful colonnaded pergola around the west and south sides of the formal garden in front of its mansion, Inverforth House. They then visited the walled garden in Kenwood House which was once a kitchen garden but is now laid out with lawns and flower beds.
  • 18 August 2009 the second meeting of the Association of Friends of Hampshire Gardens took place on at Townhill Park Southampton, attended by Honorary Secretary Pauline Powell. The first meeting was in March. This forum is the brainchild of Hampshire Gardens Trust. It is a mutual self-help group to exchange expertise and information. There are fifteen active groups in the Association and subsequent meetings will take place at the other gardens maintained by Friends.
  • 23 August 2009 an enjoyable visit was made to Old Alresford House, the 18th century mansion and 35 acres of garden at Old Alresford owned by Mike Hall, Chairman of the Hampshire Gardens Trust.  It was open as part of the HGT programme of the Celebration Series of Open Gardens.  Five Friends attended with picnics.
  • 12 and 13 September 2009 Dr Ann Coats gave fully booked guided tours of the Porter’s Lodge and garden during Heritage Open Days.
  • 22 September 2009 a new venture this year was an autumn lunch which took place in Boat House 7 Restaurant in the Dockyard on.  Nine Friends enjoyed the occasion.
  • 16 December 2009 the Committee enjoyed their Christmas meal together in the Custom House.

Garden Notes

  • On 9 November 2009 the Yew hedge was cut by TTrees.
  • 11 November 2009 a truck load of well rotted manure was delivered and had a fine time spreading it around the garden.  We completed planting the spring flowering bulbs in late November and are now seeing green shoots appearing.
  • We were lucky not to sustain any damage during the snowy weather but it has put things back a little. We did, unfortunately, lose the Strawberry tree earlier in 2009 due to long term wind damage.

Web site

The web site keeps members up to date with what’s going on in the Porter’s Garden at:  www.portersgarden.hampshire.org.uk

Volunteers

The Friends are still in need of more gardening volunteers.  Any help is welcome. Volunteers are reminded to keep tetanus inoculations up to date. The protection lasts 10 years.

Donations

The Friends wish to thank Mr & Mrs Brain and Gill Dawe for continuing to donate plants in such generous quantities, keeping our plant stand stocked with unusual and beautiful varieties.

Most importantly, thanks to the Porter’s Garden ‘digging’ Friends

Thanks especially to Pauline Powell for her indefatigable work as Secretary and to John Scott for updating our beautifully designed and illustrated website. Also to Cristine as Treasurer, who has kept us fully informed as to our finances, and is happy to approve Pauline’s spending. New thanks are due to Margaret Judd, Social Secretary, assisted by Val Pennycook, for arranging interesting garden visits. More thanks to the other Committee members for their valuable input to meetings, and last but not least to Peter Goodship, Lorraine Carpenter, Karol Jefferies and the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust staff for their support. We have had much help in the garden from Peter Lambert’s maintenance team, for which we are very grateful.

To the rest of the ‘Diggers’, thanks for hundreds of hours spent digging, watering, propagating, composting, lawn care, historical and horticultural research, designing, use of petrol to collect plants, emails and telephone calls, administration, photographs, plants, tools, fertiliser and sundries.

Dr Ann Coats
Coordinator
18 March 2010
 

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2009

Friends of the Porter's Garden
Ninth Annual General Meeting
26 March 2009, 7.30pm
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, 19 College Road, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Eighth Annual Report
(amended after the meeting)

'...a love of Plants is a very different thing from a mere love of Flowers. Now that the extreme rage for Bedding-plants is on the wane, there is some chance of a wider range of plants becoming known to, and cultivated by, amateurs, and a deeper knowledge of gardening and plants in use - not merely a surface knowledge, such as is required for the ordinary style of bedding-out Florists' flowers.' (Frances Jane Hope, Notes & Thoughts on Garden and Woodland written chiefly for the amateur (1880), quoted by Jane Brown, The Pursuit of Paradise (HarperCollins, 1999), 120.)

This year, eight years after the Friends began, we have seen the completion of the Porter’s Garden, with the opening of the Raised Garden on 20 March 2009. This takes us from the eighteenth century, with the building of the Porter’s Lodge (1707), to the Victorian period of Boathouse Six (1845). We are planning the tenth anniversary in 2011, with a review of our principles and direction. We shall be thinking about interpreting how each part of the garden contributes to the whole picture.

Having attained this expansion it is apposite to consider our strengths and weaknesses. One of our strengths is the strong presence of women amongst the Friends, following the often forgotten traditional influence of women gardeners. Garden historian Jane Brown traces the contribution of women to gardening lore, partly because of their role as ‘wise women’, gatherers of beneficial herbs and useful wild plants into gardens. Sir Joseph Banks, who accompanied Cook on a plant gathering expedition to the Pacific, first learned the names of flowers from herb women. In the eighteenth century many businesswomen played an active role in running nurseries or, as aristocrats designed their own notable gardens. (Jane Brown, The Pursuit of Paradise (HarperCollins, 1999), 106-11.) But we also fully acknowledge the help of the male Friends.

The nineteenth century Francis Jane Hope also emphasized the benevolence of plants, in particular for those whose sight is impaired, suggesting many plants which could be felt and smelled, and one of our aims is to incorporate as many sensory plants as possible into the garden. She saw plants as benevolent, helping people recovering from illness or melancholy. The Friends can attest to the uplifting and invigorating experience of working in the garden, and the numbers of regular visitors among Dockyard employees bear out its peace and tranquility. (Jane Brown, The Pursuit of Paradise (HarperCollins, 1999), 122-4.) It is also a rare public garden space within the Dockyard and Portsea, one which is still little known within the surrounding community.

We continue to improve the design, to interpret maritime endeavours and plant collecting and to explore a range of planting beyond the limitations of mass-produced hybrids in bedding schemes. We shall also ensure that the Garden is completely organic. We have decided to retain as a permanent feature the herb border that could have been used by the Porter and his family. The website at http://www.portersgarden.hampshire.org.uk continues What’s looking good in the Garden this Month, with photos of what is in bloom and its location in the garden, thanks to John Scott the web master.

Finally, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Porter’s Lodge Jean Flack-Munday has produced a beautiful painting of the garden which is on the website.

Visitors

As well as our resident blackbirds, Pauline has seen a goldcrest and greenfinches this year.

Visits

Margaret Judd’s role as Events Organiser has increased the range of our visits. Friends attended or visited:
  • 13 June 2008 Orchard Close Garden Party
  • 21 June 2008 Unusual Plant sale at Gilbert White's House
  • 27 June 2008 Earnley Grange (NGS)
  • 2 July 2008 Summer Lecture at Gilbert White's House
  • 11 July 2008 Hampton Court Flower Show, a splendid and luxurious occasion thanks to the Humvee limousine and al fresco lunch
  • 20 July 2008 Bramdean House (NGS)
  • 18 December 2008 our Christmas meal at the Waterfront Brasserie was excellent, with imaginative stockings. Thanks to Val for choosing and Peter for his generosity.

Events

  • 22 June 2009 our Garden Party was very successful, despite having to move indoors to Action Stations because of the strong winds. Peter Goldie of Nauticalia, the Mary Rose Shop, Andrew Bennett of the Antiques Store and Chris Arkell of the Royal Naval Museum Bookshop generously gave raffle prizes to boost our funds. St Ann’s Bellringers and the Grammar School clarinettists provided melody.
  • 13/14 September 2008 our Heritage Open Days featured a popular tour of the Lodge and Garden. It was also captured on film, displayed on our website
  • 29 December 2008 we again ran our mulled wine and mince pies stall at the Dockyard Festival, although the weather was wet and windy and many people did not know what 'Porter's Noggin' was.
  • 20 March 2009 Hampshire Gardens Trust Chairman Mike Hall opened the Raised Garden, designed by Trustee Sir Colin Stansfield Smith and Property Trust Manager Peter Lambert, bringing the Victorian Boathouse Six within the full remit of the Garden.

New in the Garden

The new Raised Garden features Victorian plants which will survive the fairly exposed site: Juniperus horizontalis, Primula ‘Gold Lace’, Aubretia, Rosemarinus horizontalis, pink and white Armeria maritima (sea thrift), ‘Bowles Purple’ wallflowers, hebes and periwinkles. In the two pots either side of the steps are Pieris, a Victorian favorite. The whole garden has been united by having its Breeden gravel renewed.

Talks

Ann gave an illustrated talk to Hampshire Gardens Trust Research Group on 20 January 2009, raising sales of jam and cards, and increasing our links with HGT.

Donations

For gifts in 2008-2009 the Friends wish to thank Mr & Mrs Brain for continuing to donate plants in such generous quantities, which keep our plant stand stocked with unusual and beautiful varieties.

Most importantly, thanks to the Porter’s Garden ‘digging’ Friends

Thanks especially to Pauline Powell for her indefatigable work as Secretary and to John Scott for updating our beautifully designed and illustrated website. Also to Cristine as Treasurer, who has kept us fully informed as to our finances, and is happy to approve Pauline’s spending. More thanks to the other Committee members for their valuable input to meetings, and last but not least to Peter Goodship, Lorraine Carpenter, Karol Jefferies and the PNBPT staff for their support. We have had much help in the Garden from Peter Lambert’s Maintenance Team, for which we are very grateful.

To the rest of the ‘Diggers’, thanks for hundreds of hours spent digging, watering, propagating, composting, lawn care, historical and horticultural research, designing, use of petrol to collect plants, emails and telephone calls, administration, photographs, plants, tools, fertiliser and sundries.

Dr Ann Coats
Coordinator
26 March 2009
 

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2008

Friends of the Porter's Garden
Eighth Annual General Meeting
24 April 2008, 7.30pm
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, 19 College Road, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Seventh Annual Report

In March, and in Aprill, fro morning to night:
In sowing and setting, good housewives delight.
To have in their gardein, or some other plot
To trim up their house, and to furnish their pot.

Visitors

Greenfinches have been seen and a wren is almost a resident as is ‘our’ (probably) blackbird. Gill Dawe reported that a tame white dove visited the garden and took crumbs from Chris Lovatt’s hand.  We have also had pied wagtails.

Volunteers had a chat with three visitors who used to work at Pembroke Dock and remembered Warrior being used there as a storage vessel.

Visits

The Friends visited the Rare Plant Sale at Selborne on 17 June 2007, Highdown Gardens on 15 August 2007. They attended the Orchard Close Garden Party on 22 June 2007 and the HGT talk on West Dean through the Seasons at Petersfield Physic Garden (MJ and PEP) on 2 April 2008. On 10 February 2008, PEP, John Scott and cousins, MJ and a friend and PH visited Brandy Mount for the snowdrops.

Events

On 1 December 2007 the Friends enjoyed running their stall at the Festival of Christmas, serving up Cristine’s mulled wine recipe and mince pies. After a shaky start (it was too far back from the main drag), the stall was dragged nearer by stalwart helpers (Peter Lambert’s team) and they never looked back. They had to send out for more supplies and made a handsome sum by the time the weather closed in. Apart from having to be imprisoned in their stall (to stop the door blowing open) and getting back ache from bending over the mulled wine pot it was an enjoyable few hours of slicing, simmering and banter.

On 13 December 2007 the PG Christmas party was held in the Taste of China in Cosham, an inspired choice by PEP and the food was excellent. Thanks to Peter Goodship for his generosity.

At our Midsummer Garden Party on 22 June 2007 the Friends once more excelled themselves in producing superb cream teas and their famous fruit punch, served by China Rose and Aislinn. It was opened by Deputy Lord Mayor Robin Sparshatt and Deputy Lady Mayoress Mrs Felicity Sparshatt. Councillor Terry Hall also attended. Weather well and truly assailed us, but Frank Nowosielski and his staff in Action Stations coped with the influx of 80-odd guests superbly. Peter Goldie of Nauticalia, the Mary Rose Shop and Chris Arkell of the Royal Naval Museum Bookshop generously gave raffle prizes to boost sales of our raffle tickets. Con Brio singers, continuing our anti-slave trade theme of the year, projected spirituals brilliantly in the enclosed space.

This year, to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Porter’s Lodging and the tenth anniversary of starting to plan the garden, our new feature is a border of herbs that could have been used by the Porter and his family designed by Friends Gill Dawe, Margaret Judd and Pauline Powell. Ann is attempting to pinpoint the exact date of the building of the Porter’s Lodge in the National Archive.

New in the Garden

A new botanic illustration of Prunus cerasus - Morello cherry - was made by June Mary Huckerby from Bentley in Yorkshire during her visit to the Porter's Garden on a lovely day in June 2007. It will be made into a card.

Our jars of Morello cherry jam and chutney are now enhanced by our own label featuring Morello cherries and our web address.

The website now has a new address http://www.portersgarden.hampshire.org.uk and a new feature: What’s looking good in the Garden this Month. Each month we post photos of what is in bloom and looking good and give its location in the garden. Our thanks to John Scott the web master.

Two more old Cotswold stone troughs, one D-shaped and one rectangular, were bought to partner our previous two, from the same supplier, delivered on 26 March 2008.

Jean Flack-Munday is sketching and roughing out two or three ideas for a 300th anniversary painting of the garden.

A giant subtropical Echium pininana is growing in the William III bed. One self-seeded near BH6 Cinema but was ‘weeded’.

Development of the BH6 area has been an ongoing development. Discussions were held with the Trustee architects in summer 2007, the Friends suggesting a pergola, replacement railings for BH6 and cypress trees. None of these ideas were taken up. Instead Sir Colin Stansfield Smith has designed some steps and more walnut trees will extend the current planting along the road. A container will grow greenery trailing over the new retaining wall running down to the mast pond, and Peter Goodship is hopeful of obtaining an interesting engineering feature for display in the open space.

Sickness in the Garden (Phyllis Heard and Pauline Powell) reduced the workforce somewhat, and Margaret Judd had an extended holiday to Mexico and Jamaica. But we have gained new Friends Joan Munro and volunteer Angie Stafford.

Talks

Ann gave illustrated talks at the Maritime Club to the Portsmouth Association of Wrens on 10 July and to the Friends of Old Portsmouth Association in the Square Tower on 16 July 2007, making £50 in fees and sales of jam and cards.

Gardening Tips

  • Slugs and snails avoid seaweed, so spread it around your vulnerable plants. It also acts as mulch.
  • To deter black fly spray a concoction of simmered crushed artemesia with washing up liquid (to make it stick to the leaves).

Donations

For gifts in 2006-2007 the Friends wish to thank
Mr & Mrs Brain for continuing to donate plants in such generous quantities, which keep our Plant Stand stocked with unusual and beautiful varieties.

Most importantly, thanks to the Porter’s Garden ‘digging’ Friends

Thanks especially to Pauline Powell for her indefatigable work as Secretary and to John Scott for updating our beautifully designed and illustrated website. Also to Cristine as Treasurer, who has kept us fully informed as to our finances, and is happy to approve Pauline’s spending. More thanks to the other Committee members for their valuable input to meetings, and last but not least to Peter Goodship, Lorraine Carpenter, Karol Jefferies and the PNBPT staff for their support. We have had much help in the Garden from Peter Lambert’s Maintenance Team, for which we are very grateful. Both the Strawberry and the Judas Tree were blown over in gales this winter but seem to have survived and are now staked with their help.

To the rest of the ‘Diggers’, thanks for hundreds of hours spent digging, watering, propagating, composting, lawn care, historical and horticultural research, designing, use of petrol to collect plants, emails and telephone calls, administration, photographs, plants, tools, fertiliser and sundries.

Dr Ann Coats
Coordinator
24 April 2008
 

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2007

Friends of the Porter's Garden
Seventh Annual General Meeting
17 April 2007
, 7.30pm
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, 19 College Road, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Sixth Annual Report

Wurts
Every month hath his name
To set and sow without any blame
May for summer is all the best
July for harvest is the next
November for winter must the third be
Mars for lent so may I thrive...
...And so from month to month
Thou shalt bring thy wurtes forth.
J Uglow, A Little History of British Gardening (Chatto & Windus , 2004), 53

This year has seen new members adding fresh ideas and contributing valuable work and knowledge. We now have twenty-three Friends. The youngest, China-Rose Pennycook, has designed new 'Best wishes' cards depicting the Porter's Garden. She helps in the garden on half terms and holidays. Wildlife seen in the garden includes a wren and our resident blackbirds. A blue tit was observed on the Judas Tree recently (which flowered twice this year), a greenfinch in the walnut trees and wagtails on several occasions.

At our Midsummer Garden party on 25 June 2006 our home made food was enhanced by ice cream kindly donated by Minghella Ice Cream and our famous fruit punch. Peter Goldie of Nauticalia, the Mary Rose Shop and Chris Arkell of the Royal Naval Museum Bookshop generously gave raffle prizes to boost sales of our raffle tickets. Con Brio singers sang and the Webb & West Jazz Duo, Vincent and Ben from Portsmouth Grammar School, played hazy summer music.

The Friends held a Plant sale at the Christmas Festival. It was more profitable than previous Festivals, but still not really worth our time. They also manned a stall throughout the day at the very successful Volunteers' Fair on 22 February in Boathouses 4 and 6, Val and Ann being interviewed on Community Radio. The Donations Box is still gratefully receiving useful sums.

As a new venture at Christmas 2007 ten Friends attended a Dinner at the Pizza House. It was thoroughly enjoyable and a nice way to end the year. The Property Trust featured a photo of our berried holly tree on their Christmas card: 'The holly bears a berry...', which was also included in Ditty Do, the Naval Base Newsletter.

Visits

On 27 April 2006 Margaret Judd and Pauline Powell attended a reception at the House of Lords held by Onyx Environmental trust as a thank you for their grant recipients.

On Sunday 18 June 2006, three Friends of the Porter's Garden committee and an accompanying friend visited the Unusual Plants Fair at Gilbert White's House in Selborne, Hampshire. There were about 40 exhibitors and a dazzling array of unusual plants. The visit proved very educational with many opportunities to purchase superb and interesting plants. The Fair is held every year and is well worth attending. www.gilbertwhiteshouse.org.uk

On 6 September 2006, five Friends of the Porter's Garden committee visited Denmans Garden, near Fontwell, West Sussex. It was an evening visit; part of the Yellow Book Gardens Open for Charity programme. The Friends happily wandered around the four-acre garden with a glass of wine on a beautiful September evening, enjoying some unusual plants. They purchased plants for the Garden and for themselves from the well-stocked nursery.

On 27 September 2006, two Friends of the Porter's Garden committee attended a Plantsman's Day at Bury Court, Bentley, near Farnham. There was a conducted tour around the walled garden designed by Piet Oudolf and the front garden designed by Christopher Bradley-Hole. The pergola has inspired our own design for a pergola near Boathouse Six.

New in the Garden

Highlights of the summer of 2006 were our two giant subtropical Echium pininanas. They were donated to us in 2004 as seedlings and had taken a while to reach their height of 12 feet in full bloom. Also known as the 'Tower of Jewels' or 'Pride of Tenerife', their flower spikes were festooned with purple-blue, funnel-shaped flowers. After flowering the plants died, but we are now waiting to see if they scattered their seeds. Native to the Canary Islands, they are common in Cornwall, the Scilly Isles and Ireland. They may be seen locally in the Crescent Garden, Alverstoke and on the Isle of Wight.

Among our latest purchases are a wooden water butt and a sandstone bird bath, intended to help out with the watering and to improve the facilities for our bird visitors. The bird bath was set in place on 18 October 2006, surrounded by a new bed planted with spring bulbs. It has been much enjoyed by our bird visitors. To ease the volunteers' workload we purchased a shredder, a grass trimmer and a hedge cutter. We recently completed the planting up of a stone trough with a collection of sempervivums, finished off with golden gravel. It looks very fine on the step in front of Boathouse Six. We have also added trellis to the Shady Bed for two evergreen honeysuckle plants to add colour, height, interest and scent and added pine cone finials to the Cardoon stakes.

On 15 February 2007 the Strawberry Tree, which had its first strawberry fruits in 2006, was pruned by John Scott. Due to strong prevailing winds from the south west, it needed two thirds of growth to be removed, mainly from the leeward side, to even up its shape. It has also been staked to counteract future winds and encourage it to grow upright.

The recently re-designed Porter's Back Garden, created by the 'digging' Friends led by Margaret Judd, is a small space of simplicity, charm and tranquillity. Composed of golden gravel and punctuated with welsh slate, drift wood, rocks and ferns, the mossy flagstones arched over by a canopy of sweet smelling jasmine lead to a door to the Porter's Lodge.

This year our new feature was the Anti-Slave Trade Border, opened on Sunday 25 March 2007. Forty guests joined the Friends in celebrating this acknowledgment that in the 21st century all people must be free and equal. They stood facing a display of replica manacles set off by red, navy and gold ribbons. The colour red symbolises the blood of the Africans, gold the sugar, tobacco and sun, and navy the Royal Navy. The planting scheme will feature tobacco Nicotiana Tabacum, sugar cane Saccharum officinarum, crops grown on the plantations, the dahlia Bishop of Llandaff (red flowers and black foliage), gold lace primulas (dark red laced with gold), red Pasque flowers, black iris and black grasses and cowslips. As it was too cold in March to plant the tobacco, sugar cane and Bishop Llandaff, they will be planted for our Garden Party in June when the weather is warmer. The border was designed by Friends Margaret Judd and Pauline Powell.

Dr Colin White, Director of the Royal Naval Museum, whose exhibition, 'Chasing Freedom - The Royal Navy and the Suppression of the Transatlantic Slave Trade', began on 3 February 2007, opened the Border. Alisa Vanlint of the 2nd Augustan Legion Living History Society, dressed as an enslaved Roman farm worker, presented 'The Origins of Slavery', which showed that many elements of what we think of as African slavery have been present since prehistoric times, to deny people their identity and freedom. Simon Vanlint was dressed as an American plantation overseer, his costume inspired by an American banknote. Anne Carpenter from the Anti-Slavery Organisation said that we must not think that slavery is something elsewhere and in the past, it still exists in Britain today. Marie Costa of the African Women's Forum ended the ceremony by saying that slavery in the Americas only ended when it was no longer economically profitable. She believed today would be the start of a new awareness of individual freedom and dignity: 'We can only be free when all people are free.' Afterwards everyone warmed up with a cup of tea.

The Bury Court pergola has inspired our thinking for an iron pergola near Boathouse Six. Peter Clutterbuck, designer blacksmith of Southsea, has produced a concept design of a pergola based on the design of the beams within the Boathouse. The design is being discussed by the Friends and the Trustees.

Donations

For gifts in 2006-2007 the Friends wish to thank:
  • Michael Howell who donated a very useful step ladder and measuring tape and
  • Trustee Terry Hall who donated attractive plant pots for bulb planting;
  • Mr & Mrs Brain for donating plants in such generous quantities, which keep our plant stand stocked with unusual and beautiful varieties: a total of 113 plants for our Garden Party included a walnut tree, bonsai Cotoneaster, 28 zantedeschia aethiopica, hellebores, 6 aloe vera; and
  • Portsmouth City Council which has supported the garden generously from the beginning with funds, expertise and plants.

Most importantly, thanks to the Porter's Garden 'digging' Friends

Thanks especially to Pauline Powell for her indefatigable work as Secretary and to her and John Scott for updating our beautifully laid out and illustrated website. To Cristine, as Treasurer, who has kept us fully informed as to our finances, and occasionally questions us when we want to spend money, but not often. Thanks also to the other Committee members for their valuable input to meetings, and last but not least to Peter Goodship, Lorraine Carpenter and the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust staff for their financial support and helpful attention.

To the rest of the 'Diggers' thanks for hundreds of hours spent digging, watering, propagating, composting, lawn care, historical and horticultural research, designing, petrol used to collect plants, emails and telephone calls, administration, photographs, plants, tools, fertiliser and sundries.

Dr Ann Coats
Coordinator

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2006

Friends of the Porter's Garden
Sixth Annual General Meeting
25 April, 2006
, 7.30pm
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, 19 College Road, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Fifth Annual Report

Who can blend usefulness and sweetness wins every
Vote, at once delighting and teaching the reader
As urged in Horace's poetry, the right proportion between the useful and the beautiful was much debated in eighteenth century garden design. (Ars Poetica, 343-344)

This last year has seen a subtle change in our membership, with some original members like Jean Flack Munday, and Charlotte Frost and John Gunn, who gave so much of their time and expertise, leaving. Taking their place, new members are adding new ideas and contributing valuable work and knowledge. In particular, Kay Gilmore contributed an article about the Garden which the Portsmouth Friends of the Earth published in full in their February Newsletter. A note also appeared in the Portsea Post. Further publicity and funds were obtained from Ann Coats' talk to the Cosham Conservative Ladies Luncheon Club on 11 January. Gill Dawe was instrumental in the purchase and release of 200 Lumbricus terrestris worms for the benefit of the William III bed. Other wildlife in the garden included a wren and of course, our resident blackbirds.

2005 was busy for the Dockyard and the Porter's Garden because it was Trafalgar 200, the Year of the Sea, with 1 million visitors (P Goodship 24 April). The Nelson Border in the Porter's Garden, whose opening launched Trafalgar 200 in 2005, flowered beautifully all through the summer. The violas were cut back in late August to produce a second flush for 21 October 2005, the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

New in the Garden

Our three granite seats were installed on 24 May, the fruit of three years of research and planning by Jean Flack Munday and Pauline Powell and careful attention by the sculptor, Roger Stephens throughout, completed after the Friends were awarded £11,000 by Onyx Environmental Trust. Our Knot Garden was finally completed with the addition of four standard holly bushes on 21 June. In the last year we have benefited from a plant sales stand, made by John Gunn, who also installed a Red Mason Bee nest box, an interpretation board designed by Dick Davis, an updated brochure, seven new wooden tubs and three antique Cotswold stone tubs and in May two new oak benches hand made by Paul Pinnington. In addition, Michael Howell donated and fixed up our Blue Tit nest box and drilled and added some more rows of wire to support the Morello Cherries which are growing apace. Lights have now been provided for the potting shed, courtesy of Mark Meatcher and the Mary Rose Trust.

In 2005 we had a more ambitious Midsummer Garden Party than usual: a Soirée, which although was great fun and delicious and as well attended as ever, did not make so much money as the Strawberry Teas, and involved the Friends in much more work. Con Brio gave us some rousing sea shanties and St Ann's Hand Bell Ringers provided beautiful music too. Roger Stephens and his wife were our special guests and the Sculptured Seats and Knot Garden were formally opened by Tom Blair, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, with children from St George's Beneficial School and Meon First School, who had taken part in the competition to design the Knot Garden.

This year our new feature was the Brunel Border, designed by Margaret Judd in the colours of Brunel's great ships (black Ophiopogon planiscapus and white and red pansies). 2006 is the bicentenary of the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, our great nineteenth century engineer, in Portsea. It was opened on 9 April Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Councillor Robin Sparshatt, who cut through coloured ribbons and ceremonially watered the border. He also unveiled our plaque for best landscape garden from the Portsmouth Society.

Visits

The Friends had an extremely interesting and enjoyable visit to Prince Charles's estate and garden at Highgrove House on 1st August, eagerly awaited for over two years. Gill Jarrett presented a pot of our cherry jam (we do not know if HRH enjoyed it), but we were thanked. On 19 August they visited Selborne, the eighteenth century garden of Gilbert White, the first naturalist to study nature in situ, which had some very exciting points of similarity with our garden. We also enjoyed a fascinating tour of the Porter's Lodge cellar on 5 November, complete with wine and apple racks.

Donations

For gifts in 2005-2006 the Friends wish to thank
  • Mr & Mrs Brain for donating plants in such generous quantities, which keep our plant stand stocked with unusual and beautiful varieties.
  • Michael Howell for donating a new wheelbarrow.
  • John and Jennifer Wright, visitors to the garden kindly donated £10.00.
  • Portsmouth City Council, which has supported the garden generously from the beginning with funds, expertise and plants.

Most importantly, thanks to the Porter's Garden 'digging' Friends

Thanks especially to Pauline Powell for her indefatigable work as Secretary. As Jean Flack-Munday writes (1 April):
'Nothing but good news from the Porter's Garden. Particularly pleasing is the [Onyx Environmental Trust] invitation to the House of Lords [Thursday 27 April]. Few projects are completed on time and within budget. I think Pauline deserves a medal, for her skills in guiding the project through.'
To Cristine, as Treasurer, who has kept us fully informed as to our finances, and occasionally questions us when we want to spend money, but not often. Thanks also to the other committee members for their valuable input to meetings, and last but not least to Peter Goodship, Lorraine Carpenter and the PNBPT staff for their financial support and helpful attention and for Peter's excellent barbecue in June. To the rest of the 'diggers' thanks for 771 hours spent digging, watering, propagating, composting, lawn care, historical and horticultural research, designing, petrol used to collect plants, emails and telephone calls, administration, photographs, plants, tools, fertiliser and sundries.

Dr Ann Coats
Coordinator

25 April 2006

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2005

Friends of the Porter's Garden
Fifth Annual General Meeting
April 26, 2005, 7.30pm
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, 19 College Road, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Fourth Annual Report

Landmarks

17-18 July 2004 Gardens in the City
Despite visitors expecting more garden displays and the Porter's Garden to be bigger, we had a lot of interest, sold a lot of plants and took four tours around the Garden. It was a very happy atmosphere.

20 June 2004 Annual Garden Party
It did not go quite the same as the previous year.  Collecting crockery from St Ann's verger before the party, Pauline warned me that she was losing it: sure enough, in negotiating a stiff fire door, she did lose grip of a box of cups & saucers. It did not sound good when it happened, nor when we picked up the box. Skilfully hiding the occurrence from the verger, who was in a nearby room, we did not check until Pauline was washing up the crockery later, when she found that only 1 saucer had been broken.

On 19th June Pauline, Eileen and Ann were picking strawberries at Bedhampton and almost decided to go elsewhere because they were so scarce, but then worked out that we had nearly picked the required amount (all of us being severely arithmetically challenged) and needed only more box to complete our total. Amazingly, ripe strawberries suddenly seemed to be everywhere, as though they had ripened in a matter of 20 minutes. We can only attribute these miracles to St Ann.

However this good luck did not last long enough to see us through the garden party itself. After everything had been laid out beautifully the weather got too windy and cold and we made a last minute switch to the top floor of Boathouse Six, Friends and guests all helping to take up plates and food. The picture I wish I had photographed was Peter wheeling a wheelbarrow full of crockery into the top floor of Boathouse Six, grinning. Everyone was eventually fed and watered and entertained by Con Brio and had a wonderful view looking down on the Garden.

Onyx Environmental Trust Reports sent by Pauline Powell

17 June 2004
  • Having been awarded the sum of £11,000.00, the project start date was 10 June 2004, estimated completion date 10 June 2005.
  • Meeting with chosen Stonemason/Sculptor in the Garden 1 June 2004. He will go down to the quarry in Cornwall within the next two weeks to discuss details
  • He is presently selecting the material which will be used to produce the seats.
  • Sent out the letters and information pack to schools re the Knot Garden competition
  • Children from one of the schools visited the Garden today (17 June) to view the garden and where the Knot Garden will be made.


18 September 2004

  • Achieved installation and payment for the 18th Century urns. Children from St George's Beneficial School helped fill them with compost ready for planting.
  • There have been problems with agreeing the contract with the sculptor/stonemason.  These have now been resolved and the contract signed (17 September). A date for collecting the granite for transport to Cornwall will be arranged next week. The completion date for the sculptured seats project has been revised to Easter 2005. I believe they will be finished before then.
  • We have maintained contact with St George's School who are designing our knot garden. The children visited the garden again on 13 July and helped with transplanting and collecting seeds. We gave them plants to take back to their school garden. We have lost another competitor but may have found another. The designs are due in by the end of November.
  • We have drafted a design for the information boards and found a contact who will do the art work for the sign maker.
  • We raised £600.00 at two events in the dockyard, and displayed the Onyx logo.


18 December 2004

  • Knot Garden designs were received by the end of November and judged by a panel of the Friends of the Porter's Garden on 13 December 2004. The designs were judged on the basis of symmetry, historical/horticultural appropriateness and practicality of realisation. First and Second prize designs have been chosen, prizes will be awarded early in 2005.
  • Seeds were sown for the knot garden.
  • There have been problems with cranage in the Dockyard due to an accident with a crane and Health and Safety issues.  These have now been resolved and the granite has been collected together in a convenient place ready for collection and transport to Cornwall. The granite will be transported soon after the 4th January 2005 when the quarry re-opens after the holiday. The completion date for the sculptured seats project may have to be revised to shortly after Easter 2005.
  • Obtained up to date estimates for the production of an information/interpretation panel. We have decided to go for only one panel as prices have escalated since our first estimates were obtained 2/3 years ago.
  • Obtained the Onyx Environmental Trust plaque.


17 March 2005

  • On 13 January 2005, certificates were awarded to the competition winners for their knot garden designs and a packet of seeds was given to each child who contributed a design. A plant encyclopaedia was awarded to the schools for their libraries on 22 February 2005.
  • A composite design was produced from the first and second prize designs for creation of the knot garden. This has now been modified and will be the final planting pattern.
  • The knot garden was been marked up on the chosen lawn site and deep dug out as there was hard core underlying the grass and topsoil. The site will be back-filled with enriched soil, and planted up when the fully prepared site has settled.
  • The stones were transported to the quarry in Cornwall on 5 January 2005 for profiling and returned to the sculptor in Salisbury on 28 February 2005. He is now working on the sculptured seats and his completion date has been revised to mid May 2005. The final installation of the seats in the Garden is expected to be by mid June 2005.
  • A first draft of the information/interpretation panel will be presented to the Friends of the Porter's Garden on 21 March 2005. There has been some delay on the panel design as the current garden layout was being researched by the artist. This took more time than anticipated.
  • The Onyx Environmental Trust plaque has been installed.

New in the Garden

21 March 2005. The Nelson Border was opened by Dr Colin White of Royal Naval and National Maritime Museums. The two winners of the Knot Garden competition attended.

21 April 2005.  The Breedon Gravel was laid, making the whole garden look wider and defining each element more distinctly. It is a beautiful soft colour. The Nelson Border is now in full flower and frames that lawn bed clearly.
 

Thanks

As well as the thanks expressed below I would like to express particular gratitude to Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust for funding us, Chief Executive Peter Goodship, Design Manager Lorraine Carpenter and their office staff for administrative support, Karol Jeffrey for certifying our accounts and Property Manager Mark Meatcher for overall care. On the Friends committee, my especial thanks to Pauline Powell for managing the Onyx Environmental Trust grant, ordering and distributing bulbs and seeds and keeping on top of everything; Eileen Brooks for keeping the books and introducing new ideas; John Scott for maintaining our web page; John Gunn for keeping our lawn and hedges beautiful and Charlotte Frost for attendance through wind and rain and for constantly finding new ways to advertise the Garden; Margaret Judd and Christine Kervin for managing the Nelson Border from start to finish. Liz Stoner for cherries pruning & tying in 17 June 2004 and pruning the Lime Trees on 27 October 2004.

Donations

For gifts in 2004-2005 the Friends wish to thank Mr & Mrs Brain for plants for Gardens in the City Sat 17-Sun 18 July 2004.

Most importantly, thanks to the Porter's Garden 'digging' Friends:

For digging, watering, propagating, composting, lawn care, hurdle cutting and weaving, historical and horticultural research, petrol used to collect plants, emails and telephone calls, administration, photographs, plants, tools, fertiliser and sundries.

Dr Ann Coats
Coordinator

26 April, 2005

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2004

Friends of the Porter's Garden
Fourth Annual General Meeting
4 May, 2004, 7.30pm
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, 19 College Road, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Third Annual Report

When, thou shalt visit, in the Moneth of May,
A costly Garden, in her best array;
And, view the well-grown Trees, the wel-trimm'd Bowers,
The Beds of Herbs, the knots of pleasant flowers,
With all the deckings, and the fine devices,
Perteyning to those earthly Paradises,
Thou canst not well suppose, one day, or two,
Did finish all, which had beene, there, to doe.
...by this Emblem, now perhaps, be brought,
Perswade thee to consider, that, no actions,
Can come, but by degrees, to their perfections....
(George Wither, 'Emblemes', 1635, in John Hordern, ed, English Emblem Books, no 12, Scolar Press, 1968, p 107)
A garden is 'a Monopolie of al the pleasure and delights that are on the earth, amassed togeather'.
(Iain Fletcher, ed, H[enry]. H[awkins]. Partheneia Sacra, 1633, 1950, p11)

Progress

Our third year in operation has become less intensive physically and has taken on more administrative and interpretative aspects. We are continuing to introduce new plants, but managing its seasonal régimes has fallen into a more regular pattern. However, one strenuous job was the cutting and weaving of a new main hurdle as a salt and wind break. As well as maintenance funds supplied by the Property Trust, we have moved from raising other money through car boot sales and to our very successful built-in donations box and on-site plant sales.

Landmarks

At our Strawberry Tea Garden Party on 22 June 2003 we fed around 100 guests while acapella Con Brio entertained them. We made a profit of over £500, enabling us to pay our share of the second wrought iron garden gate. Although this involved a day picking 88 pounds of strawberries (not unpleasant!) and a few hours making scones, this formula seems to have hit the jackpot.

Publicity has been increased through coverage of our events by the News, articles in Solent Forum newsletter Solent News, 16, (Spring 2004) and First Base newsletter, and of course on BBC South Radio Solent's popular gardening programme, Topsoil, which on 28 February broadcast an interview (recorded on 11 February) with Pauline and Ann and composting hints from Charlotte. Alan Titchmarsh was in the garden, attracting about 40 people, to publicise the Mary Rose rose on 11 October. Our web site has been updated by John Scott and we now have a donation box in the wall under the distinctive sign provided by the dockyard support group. Ann gave a talk on 'Portmouth Dockyard Porter and the Porter's Garden' to Portsmouth Horticultural Society at Hilsea on 10 September, a thoroughly enjoyable evening which has led to further bookings. On 21 February we visited St Ann's Church (built 1785-1787), to advise the congregation on ways to redesign their own eighteenth century garden. On 4 April Councillor Elaine Baker unveiled a plaque to mark her opening of the garden in 2001 during her term as Mayor, and her continuing support. She and June Parkinson also planted our latest acquisition, a Koelreuteria paniculata (Pride of India), gift from Mrs Gilly Drummond of Hampshire Gardens Trust. Sculptor Roger Stephens brought his designs for the new garden seats, and was able to review his plan now we have the grant from Onyx under its landfill tax rebate scheme. On 27 February we gave about 60 Solent Forum delegates garden leaflets and some came for a short walk through a very wet garden.

To continue learning from other gardens we visited Exbury Gardens  and Cadland Gardens on Sunday 11 May 2003 and Hillier's Arboretum on Saturday 7 February 2004. We continue to liaise with Greenfingers horticultural centre at St James's to provide a learning context for their students and support for us. On 23 October their students helped split and replant the cardoons and plant the step-over apples. We have also gained the regular expertise of Iain Barnes, who joined us last autumn, and has been regular and helpful. Trained professionally at Cadlington House and Stansted Park, he became an honorary Friend earlier this year.

Thanks to Pauline's determination our Land Fill grant application has been successful, so sculptor Roger Stephens' designs for the new garden seats are now much nearer to being realised. We were also awarded £900 from the Community Chest Children's Fund to develop our knot garden and eighteenth century pots. We shall liaise with St George's School Portsea and three other schools.

We have lost Sally Hocking to Canada for at least three years, but not as a Friend. Sadly Mrs Helene Burroughs, a Friend who was born in Long Row in the Dockyard and played on the garden site as a child and had recently returned to the area, died on 1 March. She and her husband attended our garden party last year.

Our horticultural work was again recognised by being awarded a 1st Prize in the Most Attractive Historic Garden section by Portsmouth & Southsea in Bloom judges in November 2003. Other rewarding moments include seeing blackbirds nesting in one of the cardoons and eventually producing young (we hope) in their third nest in the farthest cherry tree. In August Pauline saw a Hummingbird Hawkmoth in the Garden around the pink turtle heads in the lawn bed.

New in the Garden

In the square lawn: crocus and fritilliary bulbs sown in the grass for early spring interest; two rosa officinalis (gallica), one Shailer's white moss and one 'Petite de Hollande' roses; a Pride of India tree, Koelreuteria paniculata, in the centre to give flowers in spring, shade in the summer and seed cases in the autumn.
William III bed: Camelia rubra imbricata, winter aconites in front of the box hedge
Along top box hedge: blue squills and both box hedges yellow meconopsis
Lawn bed: two Hunthouse stepover apple trees; various alliums
Strawberry tree bed: Primula vulgaris
Woodland bed: Primula x polyantha 'Gold Lace'

Thanks

As well as the thanks expressed below I would like to express particular gratitude to Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust for funding us, Chief Executive Peter Goodship, Design Manager Lorraine Carpenter and their office staff for administrative support, Karol Jeffrey for certifying our accounts and Property Manager Mark Meatcher for overall care. On the Friends committee, my thanks to Pauline Powell especially for achieving the Onyx Environmental Trust grant of £11,000, taking over bulb and seed ordering and distribution and keeping track of the detail; Jean Flack-Munday and Henry Munday for their careful husbandry of the books and Eileen Brooks for volunteering to take them over and introducing our monthly Diary of tasks and planting ideas; Sally Hocking, Pauline, Jean and Gill Jarrett for steadfastly 'manning' our sales pitch at Craneswater School and Southsea Common; John Scott for maintaining our web page; John Gunn for keeping our lawn beautiful and Charlotte Frost (our 'compost queen').

Donations

For gifts in 2003-2004 the Friends wish to thank
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust for an annual grant of £750.00
Conbrio, for entertaining our guests at the Strawberry Tea for no charge (just lots of strawberries)
Pat and John Cheetham for an oak half tub
Portsmouth City Councillor Elaine Baker for £176.25 to have the plaque carved
Alex and Rosemary Hazlerigg for the slate slab for the plaque
Mrs Gilly Drummond for Koelreuteria paniculata (Pride of India)
Staunton Park for hazel hurdles in exchange for coppicing work
David Austin Roses Ltd for two rosa officinalis (gallica), one Shailer's white moss and one 'Petite de Hollande' roses
R V Roger Ltd for various replacement bulbs
Mr and Mrs Brain for propagating unusual plants for sale
Gilly Drummond and June Parkinson of Hampshire Gardens Trust for their continuing support
Roger Young of Portsmouth City Council Parks Department for plants, practical support and advice
Greenfingers, St James's Hospital Milton, for advice and help
Peter Goldie, manager of Nauticalia, Jacquie Shaw of the Mary Rose Trust and Chris Arkell, manager of the Royal Naval Museum Bookshop for Garden Party raffle prizes.
Friends of the Porter's Garden whose subscriptions have helped us throughout the year

Most importantly, thanks to the Porter's Garden 'digging' Friends:

For digging, watering, propagating, composting, lawn care, hurdle cutting and weaving, historical and horticultural research, petrol used to collect plants from Hampshire and Sussex, emails and telephone calls, administration, photographs, plants, tools, fertiliser and sundries. At least 719.50 person hours were donated 6 May 2003 - 3 May 2004.

Dr Ann Coats
Coordinator

4 May, 2004

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2003

The Friends of the Porter's Garden
Third Annual General Meeting
8 May, 2003
, 7.30pm
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, 19 College Road, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Second Annual Report

'Congruity of style, uniformity of character, and harmony of parts with the whole, are different modes of expressing unity, without which no composition can be perfect.' Humphrey Repton.

 
Gardening 'is easy, quiet and such as puts neither the Body nor Mind into those violent Agitations or precipitate and imminent Dangers that many other Exercises (in themselves very warrantable) do.' Stephen Switzer.

Progress

Our second year was not so back-breaking as the first, but was still intensive. We had to repair the damage caused by the flood in William III, replacing the sage and lavender which could not cope with the prolonged wet. We also introduced new plants: Mary Rose clematis and Mary Rose rose. We continued our two hour daily watering régime during the summer months, helped by 'leaky' hoses during the night. We have removed the hurdles which served as salt windbreaks this year as they were disintegrating. We plan to make new ones this autumn, encouraged by our attempts at making four 'wigwams' to support plants. Our rare Leptospermum, raised from seed sent by Auckland Botanic Gardens to Gilly Drummond of Cadland House, is thriving in the potting shed bed, as are three Mary Rose clematis. As well as funds supplied by the Property Trust, we have raised money through sales of plants and bric à brac at Craneswater School car boot sales. Our previous problem of lawn care has been resolved by John Gunn's assiduous attention.

Landmarks

In June 2002 we visited Alverstoke Crescent Garden and in July 2002 Beth Chatto's garden and Priory Garden in Hatfield Peverel, both in Essex, to learn more about planting possibilities. On 20 July 2002 at our Tudor Garden Party 100 guests were fed by Mr O'Hagan's delicious Hog Roast, entertained by the Cantalena Singers and the Purbrook Bowmen. Jean had made jam from our morello cherries for raffle prizes.

Our hard work was recognised by being awarded a 1st Prize in the Most Attractive Historic Garden section by Portsmouth & Southsea in Bloom judges in November 2002. Rewarding moments have included interesting conversations with visitors, beautiful afternoons and companionship in the garden and seeing blackbirds sitting on a nest in one of the cardoons this Spring.

We have acquired our second set of wrought iron gates, which, with the yew hedge, complete the enclosed feel of the original Porter's Garden site. They were initially forged during the Christmas Festival, 29 November to 1 December 2002 and erected at Easter, 20 April 2003.

Our compost bins are finished, so we can systematically recycle our garden waste into nutrients and our lawns are nicely groomed, thanks to John Gunn and Charlotte Frost. The cherry trees have been symmetrically fan-trained along canes.

Publicity has been improved through the News, particularly an article on the new gates (24 April 2003). Our web site has been kept up to date by John Scott and we now have a supply of brochures in boxes and a donation box in the wall under the distinctive sign provided by the dockyard support group.

Our educational remit was served by devising a Heritage Tour of the garden on 15 September 2002 and a Trail Quiz with answers for the Mary Rose Learning Weekend 12-13 October 2002. A book of morello cherry recipes will be compiled by Mrs Lissie Donnithorne. We are liaising with Greenfingers horticultural centre at St James's to provide a learning context for their students and support for us. Their students visited us on 27 January 2003 and will return later in the summer. Greenfingers overwintered some of our plants and will produce some which are difficult for us to grow.

The progress of the Land Fill grant application is disappointing. Pauline considers we should decide whether to include the proposed seat on the square lawn. We might stand a better chance if we go just for the granite seats as originally planned, especially as we are unlikely to get matching funding. We should cut our cloth.... On a positive note, we have been promised £900 from the Community Chest Children's Fund for our knot garden.

As well as thanks expressed below I would like to express gratitude in particular to Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust for funding us: Chief Executive Peter Goodship, Design Manager Lorraine Carpenter and their office staff for administrative support, Simon Daniel for certifying our accounts and Property Manager Mark Meatcher for overall care; Sally Hocking for her continued horticultural originality and searching out of seeds to save money, Pauline Powell for coping wonderfully with the paperwork, especially grant applications, Jean Flack-Munday for her beautiful logo design and Henry for checking the figures, John Scott for keeping our web page up to date, Fiona Edgley for designing our Morello cherry jam labels and John Gunn for completing the compost bins, turning the compost and keeping our lawn beautiful.

Donations

For gifts in 2002-2003 we should like to thank
  • Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust for an annual grant of £750.00 and for contributing one third of the cost of the gates
  • Norman Howden of Flagship Portsmouth for contributing one third of the cost of the gates
  • Peter Clutterbuck for fulfilling our wishes in designing beautifully crafted gates
  • Alison and Ken Clarke for a donation
  • Andrew Sellick of Gawthorpe, Warnford, for snowdrops, collected and planted in the garden by Pauline
  • Willow withies from Staunton Country Park for wigwams
  • Mr and Mrs Brain for propagating unusual plants for sale
  • Gilly Drummond and June Parkinson of Hampshire Gardens Trust for their continuing support
  • King John's Garden in Romsey for advising us on our grant applications
  • Mr and Mrs Tiley of the Oasis Riding Centre, Bursledon, for mature horse manure
  • Brian Kidd and Roger Young of Portsmouth City Council Parks Department for plants, practical support and advice
  • Friends of Petersfield Physic Garden for continued support and plants
  • Friends of the Crescent Garden, Alverstoke for a wonderful tour and plants
  • Martin and Pam Wilson from Petersfield for two purple sage plants
  • Friends of the Porter's Garden whose subscriptions have helped us throughout the year
  • Greenfingers, St James's Hospital Milton, for advice and help
  • Lorraine Carpenter, £50 winnings from the Historic Dockyard World Cup Sweepstake, 2002
  • Lissie Donnithorne for writing a booklet on eighteenth century cherry receipts
  • Havant Horticultural Society for a strawberry tree
  • Portsmouth Royal Dockyard Historical Trust Support Group for painting a 'Porter's Garden' sign

Porter's Garden 'digging' Friends

Eileen and Emma Brooks, Lorraine Carpenter, Ann Coats, Cate Coley, Chris Dobbs, Fiona Edgley, Jean Flack-Munday, Charlotte Frost, John Gunn, Sally Hocking, Ann Hunt, Gill Jarrett, Sue Lightfoot, David London, Henry Munday, Pauline Powell, Mary Simmons, Audrey Townshend and Sheila Willes (and Aislinn O'Connor and Ruth and Luke Simmons as junior Friends) for digging, watering, woodwork and painting, historical and horticultural research, petrol used to collect plants and horse manure from Hampshire and Sussex, emails and telephone calls, administration, photographs, plants, tools, fertiliser and sundries.

At least 500 person hours were donated 30 April 2002-5 May 2003.

Dr Ann Coats
Coordinator

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The Friends of the Porter's Garden
Page last updated: 2 July 2013
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