Our AGM was held on November 11th at Packington Hall . Our new president, Lady Guernsey, very kindly invited our members to arrive in good time so they were able to explore the gardens and see the work being carried out on the extensive haha that is being built. Packington is exploring the adoption of some of the rewilding initiatives used at Knepp. The couple have visited the estate in Sussex (made famous by Isabella Tree’s book ‘Wilding’) and are welcoming experts to advise on possible changes.

The AGM meeting agreed an increase in subscriptions from the renewal date in May, the first rise in very many years. The new rates will be £20 an individual or £30 a couple, which will allow us not to lose money annually and to include two free Zoom lectures a year. Paul Baker was elected  chairman and Matt Fratorini  treasurer. Carol Lane continues as secretary.

After the formal business was concluded, Sally Morgan spoke on ‘The Climate Change Garden’- extremely appropriate as it coincided with the end of COP 26. She included many details which dealt with challenges faced by all who are involved with historic managed landscapes and gardens, but her central points were of relevance  to all gardeners, whether they had substantial acreage or very small plots. There was information about the changing pattern  of our seasonal weather and the problems this poses for varieties of plants and trees we have used in the past.  She highlighted the importance of preserving the health of soil in a natural manner  and stressed the way the rainfall, which will be more intense over periods, needs to be handled. The three maxims were store it, slow it and spread  it.

The lecture and lively question and answer session were followed by afternoon tea, most generously provided by our hostess.