April in the Gardens

May 7, 2018

Jo Pocock

A warm welcome was extended to members of Wellington Townswomen’s Guild and the British Legion, who joined us for the evening. We had a very successful partnership last year making poppies to decorate the town centre and park for Remembrance Day and look forward to repeating it this year.

Members recently voted for our charity of the year for 2018/19, and this will be Taunton Open Door, which runs a day centre for people who are homeless, most of whom are rough sleepers. A representative will be invited to talk to us about their work at our AGM next month.

The recent ‘learn to crochet’ evening was a great success, with members of the Craft Group helping novice crocheters to master chains, double crochet, and turning corners. We look forward to seeing some crocheted creations soon.

The Rambling Group’s circular walk along the canal had been enjoyable, and several members were looking forward to seeing ‘Menopause, the musical’ in Bristol at the weekend.

Jo Pocock made a welcome return visit to tell us more about the gardens at Hestercombe House, this time focussing on their early development in the 18th century under the auspices of the impressively named Coplestone Warre Bampfylde. The grounds at Hestercombe were largely used as a hunting park in the middle of the century, but Coplestone was a friend of the designer of Stourhead gardens, and decided to redesign Hestercombe so that as people made their way around the gardens, features and viewpoints hidden by trees would become visible from certain points in the gardens.

As Coplestone was a good artist who produced a lot of watercolour sketches of the gardens and their evolution, we were able to see its development as Jo showed us these and compared them with photographs taken during the reclamation of the parkland areas. The pear pond and temple were reclaimed and restored, and the landscape garden was opened to the public in 1997 and was used as a location for the film Pandaemonium in 2000, about Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth.

The meeting concluded with discussion of the Somerset vote for a resolution to go forward to the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, which had been overwhelmingly been supported by our members. This proposes parity for mental illness with physical illness in respect of funding- one in four people will have some form of mental illness, and most of those will face discrimination because of this. One in ten children are affected, and 75% of all people with mental illnesses will not receive the support they need.

Our next meeting, the AGM, will take place on Thursday 17 May at 7.30 pm at the Beambridge Inn. Visitors will be very welcome.

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