The centenary of the birth of the ‘queen bee of English country house gardening’ Rosemary Verey, will be celebrated by Barnsley House, part of The Calcot Collection, in 2018. A series of special events will be held to mark her legacy as an internationally-recognised garden designer, lecturer and prolific garden writer.
Home to Rosemary and her husband the architectural historian David Verey with their four children, from 1951 until 2001, the Grade II listed house turned boutique 18-bedroom hotel was where she carefully curated the beautiful gardens that live on to this day. Sharing her burgeoning love of gardening with her husband, their four-acre plot increasingly absorbed her time once the four Verey children had grown up.
A distillation of Mrs. Verey’s experience, vision, personal taste and sheer joy for gardening, Barnsley House is known for its laburnum arch with allium underplanting, knot garden, the potager (with its crossing brick pathways and balls of privet) and yew-lined lawns. Flower beds change throughout the year, varying from spring bulbs to early flowering perennials, tender perennials and annuals. Historic stonework motifs, a Gothic summer house and Doric columned temple bring further punctuating detail while a substantial kitchen garden, meadows and a sizeable paddock are located just beyond the main garden wall.
“Mrs. Verey started out as a gifted amateur with her increasing passion and talent for gardening seeing her develop the grounds here over almost half a century from the late 1950s,” explains Head Gardener, Richard Gatenby who has worked at Barnsley House since Rosemary’s day.
“Safeguarding Mrs. Verey’s legacy, renewing garden features as required and carrying her vision forward has been an extremely important part of Barnsley House’s operation since it became part of The Calcot Collection in 2003,’ added General Manager, Michele Mella. “Ongoing development projects undertaken by Richard and his team include the five-year restoration programme for the iconic Laburnum arch which is now heading towards its final phases. This year of centenary celebrations will be an opportunity to celebrate Rosemary’s remarkable life and all that she achieved, as well as drawing so many together to whom she meant so much.”
With a knack for translating historic gardens into smaller spaces and enhancing them with lavish plantings to suit their location and layout, not only did her garden at Barnsley House become internationally acclaimed but she also went on to design gardens for HRH the Prince of Wales, Elton John, Oscar de la Renta and the New York Botanical Garden amongst others. From the 1980s onwards, her reputation at home and abroad spread, she wrote 18 books and undertook annual lecturing tours in the US. She received the OBE in 1996 and three years later, the Royal Horticultural Society awarded her its highest accolade, the Victorian Medal of Honour (VMH).
Centenary celebrations in 2018 will include:
Meet the Gardeners Tour and Lunch (5 April 2018)
Meet the green fingers behind the gardens at Barnsley House on 5 April, when Head Gardener Richard Gatenby and the team, will be giving grand tours of the gardens whilst offering expert tips and tricks to cultivate the perfect plot. A delicious seasonal lunch at the hotel’s Potager restaurant, prepared by Head Chef Francesco Volgo, will follow the tour. Priced at £37 per person, guests to arrive at 11am with the tour starting at 11.30am. Price includes tea & coffee on arrival, seasonal lunch and a glass of wine.
Barnsley Gardens Open Day (10 April 2018)
In support of the National Gardening Society, Barnsley House will open its gardens to the public for their annual Garden Open Day and Plant Sale, on 10 April. Priced at £5 per person with children free, from 10am until 4pm.
Barnsley Village Festival (19 May 2018)
The 30th anniversary of the Barnsley Village Festival will be celebrated in 2018, aptly coinciding with the centenary of Rosemary, who was a driving force behind the founding of the festival. With Rosemary’s daughter, Davina Wynne-Jones now involved, the festival opens the village and its gardens, many designed by Rosemary herself, to the public. Inspired by her mother’s green-fingered nature, Davina is the founder of Herbs for Healing, creating medicinal herbs and herbal products and running courses in natural remedies, skin creams and more from her enchanting Cotswold garden. The day raises funds to enhance and improve the character and upkeep of the village, as well as supporting local and national charities. Garden Passports – which provides access to all “OPEN” gardens, (including Barnsley House Hotel and Barnsley Park), will be available at the entrance on the day for £7 per person (children free).
Afternoon Tea and Tour (12 July 2018)
With summer in full swing, delight in all that the gardens at Barnsley House has to offer with this garden tour, followed by afternoon tea. The tea, served in the garden (weather permitting), will feature berries straight from the garden and a glass of fizz to enjoy in the summer sun! Priced at £32 per person, the garden tour starts at 2pm and includes a tour of the Barnsley House gardens followed by a Champagne afternoon tea.
Harvest Festival Themed Lunch and Tour (6 September 2018)
Meet the gardening team for a tour and see all the seasonal produce the gardens have to offer before enjoying its harvest, dining al fresco (weather permitting). The two-course lunch, with a glass of wine, will be expertly put together by Head Chef Francesco Volgo and his team using the best produce from the garden. Priced at £39 per person, the garden tour starts at 11.30am and the experience includes a tour of the Barnsley House gardens and a two-course lunch, with a glass of wine.
Mark Bibby Jackson
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