To all members of EBTS UK and country representatives
EBTS was founded in September 1996, twenty years ago. We will be celebrating this important milestone by hosting an event on Saturday October 1st at Earlstone Manor, near Newbury in Berkshire. You are all invited, both current members and past members, so please pass on the invitation to ensure a good attendance.
EBTS enters 2016 with great confidence for our future and with lots of enthusiasm. A full programme of visits and events have been arranged for you and we look forward to seeing many of you in attendance to support these activities.
Communication with members
Together with the increasing use of e-mails, our EBTS website www.ebts.org remains one of the main methods of communicating with the membership. It has recently been restructured and is regularly updated with interesting news and developments under the leadership of our website manager Chris Poole.
Chris has done and continues to do an enormous amount of work for us and we are indebted to him for all the professional and creative output he does for EBTS. Please do visit our site regularly so that you are kept properly informed and don’t miss out on any new activities or news.
Visit highlights of 2015
Our visits last year included gardens in Bedfordshire in April at The Manor House, Stevington plus visits to two restoration projects, The Swiss Garden and Wrest Park, organised by Neil Cave and Chris Poole ; stunning gardens in Herefordshire and Warwickshire over two days in May, including Birtsmorton Court, Little Malvern Court, Perrycroft, The Laskett, some gardens around Hereford Cathedral, Bryan’s Ground, Ashley Farm and the Hampton Court Estate, organised by Caroline Foley and Lynda Hinton. The weekend AGM was held in the Harrogate area in Yorkshire in early July, seeing Bramham Park, Newby Hall, Littlethorpe Manor, The Old Vicarage at Whixley and York Gate, organised by Stephen Fenny. Our final UK visit was in Hertfordshire where we visited Rustling End Cottage, Bride Hall, Shaw’s Corner and Brockett Hall, organised by Gill Marcus.
A memorable ‘foreign’ visit was made to see some gardens in Tuscany in late September over four days, efficiently organised by Boxwood Tours. We had an excellent take-up from members and good weather most of the time, hosted by a very knowledgeable guide, Nick Dakin-Elliot, resulting in a very enjoyable trip for all concerned.
A further special fund raising concert and supper was held in April at Southside House in Wimbledon. Hosted in a very historical and atmospheric place, it was fully booked in furtherance of our work on the EBTS Topiary Education Module. Thanks are due to Bruce Ginsberg and family for their enthusiasm and commitment to bring this about, as well as all those individuals who came to support us.
I wish to thank personally, and on behalf of you all, the owners of the various gardens who let us wander around their private spaces, as well as all those from EBTS and friends who supported us by attending. Thank you also to the various EBTS members for their time and trouble to develop these visits with such care to ensure these outings were so worthwhile. Without their support and dedication such events would just not happen. A huge thank you to all of you and please support the 2016 events.
Topiary Education Module
Our programme to create an EBTS Topiary Education Module continues to make progress. We are working up the detailed modules, comprising five distinct but related units, to a point where we can approach Horticultural Colleges and related Institutions to explore their interest in including this module within their formal curriculum.
We are having to adjust our approach to the colleges somewhat in recognition of their current restrictions on funding and a certain reluctance to make commitments for what is a new programme for them to take on board. Ongoing Government cuts have made our original ideas more difficult to augment but we continue to remain optimistic as we explore various options for successful implementation.
The fund raising events at Southside House in November 2014 and again in April 2015 raised further monies to augment our own limited funds. We are truly grateful to all our supporters who came to these two events.
This is a complex educational initiative which we have to get right to reflect what the industry wants and can buy into.
EBTS UK remains financially sound with a good balance sheet, and with ongoing prudent management of our income/expenditure, we hope to keep it that way. In this regard I wish to thank Lynda Hinton for her stalwart performance in keeping us on track as we progress through the year. She has done a truly outstanding job during 2015 on the book keeping side as well covering all her other activities for EBTS – we are all so grateful to her for her dedication and always wise counsel.
Our new Treasurer, Stephen Fenny, is getting to grips with his new role and our newly appointed
Independent Examiner, Simon Leathes, is keeping us all on our toes on financial matters. I am most gratefully to them both for their commitment.
Our 2016 Events Programme is currently being finalised. The outline schedule for our visits and events was summarised in our ‘bookmark’, which you will have received within your EBTS 2015 Christmas card. This card, created by Julian Treyer-Evans, demonstrated once again his talent and subtle and relevant humour – thank you Julian.
- Friday April 15th – Gardens in Surrey
Visit to the gardens at Headley Court in Epsom, Caxton House near Reigate and The Old Rectory in Bletchingley. A chance to see some topiary not visited before by EBTS – being organised by Neil Cave.
- Saturday May 7th – AGM
For the first time ever we are holding our AGM in London, over just one day. We will be hosted by the Royal Academy for what we hope will be an interesting occasion – being organised by Spencer Kahan and others.
- Wed/Thurs June 22nd/23rd – Tour of the Cotswolds
A two-day visit to the Cotswolds including Rockcliffe Gardens near Stow-on-the-Wold, Stowell Park near Northleach and several very private gardens in the Coln Valley – being organised by Andrew Tolman.
- Saturday October 1st – The EBTS 20-year Reunion
To be held at Earlstone Manor at Burghclere near Newbury, courtesy of Bruce Ginsberg, where we will celebrate 20 years since EBTS was first founded in 1996, all those years ago. Please do come along to join in the celebrations.
- Thursday October 6th – Gardens in Bath
Visiting Iford Manor and Badminton House – being organised by Judith Lywood
A foreign visit will not be organised this year – there are many events being organised by our friends in EBTS France so you would be welcome to join in on some of their trips – they are great hosts.
A prompt return of the completed booking forms is strongly recommended to be sure of a place at what we hope will be an interesting programme.
As announced at the 2015 AGM held in Yorkshire my tenure as UK Chairman is now coming to an end, after a ten-year stint. A new Chairman is being sought, ideally within the current EBTS membership. If you think you might like to be that person, now or in the near future, please put your name forward to me or any other Council member, either by letter, phone call or e-mail.
It has been a real pleasure and a privilege for me to have served all of you over the years since 2006 and I have had great fun in so doing. With our new structure and a specific Events Coordinator, Neil Cave. now appointed, the role should be less demanding whilst still retaining all the fun elements of being involved in what we do and how we do it and being amongst good friends.
In closing, I wish to thank all those people who have supported me and EBTS UK in so many diverse ways. I am reluctant to name specific names but you all know who you are! This is your Society and we need your continuing encouragement, support and interest to allow us to flourish as EBTS – ‘onwards and upwards’.
Regards to all
Chairman EBTS UK