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Monday, 19 September 2011

Coach Trip

On Saturday 10th September I joined The E A Bowles of Myddelton House Gardens Society on a coach trip. We left Myddelton at 9am headed for Hyde Hall the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) garden in Essex. When we arrived Ian Le Gros, the curator, welcomed us and told us about all the developments that have been happening in the gardens since the RHS was given the property in 1993 by Dick and Helen Robinson. A recent development is the new visitors centre which opened a couple of years ago. It is a modern building with clean lines constructed from timber, glass and stainless steel. Although it is very smart it does not have the same ‘oldie worldy’  atmosphere of the old barn which is situated at the top of the hill close to the house. The barn serves a range of hot and cold food. Bryan and I tucked into bowls of delicious butternut squash soup. I had not visited the garden for the last couple of years and although the main structure was much the same. I would like to visit again in a years time to see how the extension to the dry garden has been planted and started to establish.
A tree that has always fascinated me for years, due to its quirky growth habit is
Taxodium distichum var. imbricarium 'Nutans'. It is a tree that I first discovered whilst studying at the Sir Harold Hillier’s Garden and Arboretum near Romsey Hampshire.

Following lunch we boarded the coach for our second garden of the day which was closer to home. Copped Hall in Epping Forest, once a large family run estate, fell into disrepair once the family left in the 1940's. The family abandoned the grand house following a electrical fire that gutted the majority of the house in 1917. The family moved to another smaller property on the estate. The naked architecture of this mansion is fascinating to see as the vast majority of the plaster and wooden panelling is no longer present. The houses’ remarkable survival is due to a wonderful band of dedicated volunteers that managed to purchase the house and gardens in 1995 after many years of fight to protect the house from being converted into a hotel, luxury apartments, a golf course and even from demolition. The house and garden continue to be supported and restored solely by volunteers with the occasional skilled craftsman brought in for specialist work. This is a remarkable feat of volunteering power. I would recommend a visit. I will certainly continue to visit the house and garden following its progress.
Close to the racket house, which is now used to serve refreshment on open days, stands a large specimen of
Taxodium distichum Swamp cypress. This tree shows no signs of knees because there is no water in the vicinity.
The tour took in the extensive basemet

The south facing wall with diamond shape black decorative brick work which has faded more on this southerly aspect 

The wonderful boarder planted and  maintaned by only one volunteer 

The grand iron entrance gates

Copped Hall


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