This wall in Savill Gardens In Windsor Great Park – now known as the Royal landscape was built by my grandsfather after he came back form the War. He trained as gardener in Park in before the war 1937; probably under Hope Finlay. Finlay for was an amazing plants man, he bred introduced Mahonia ‘Charity’ named after one of his daughters. After the war he came back and worked at the Park for the rest of his career but as a builder; hence the wall. the wall is supposed to made of from recycled bricks from bombed out buildings in the East end. All I know is that he said he built it and the Bothy on the corner. The Keeper of the Gardens in this time was a John Bond; he was not well liked by the staff for his rather victorian way of managing staff and his penchant for doing the job the hardest but cheapest way. My grandfather recalled that once he was once made to plaster a house in the Park by candle light to save money; ‘Bondie’ as he was known wouldn’t let them use the electric. He was not missed by the tradesmen when he left.
I worked in the Park for a year as my year out from my degree; 3 of us lived in the park in Cumberland Lodge and spent two months in each department. This meant I spent 6 months in Savill in total. When working on the Rose borders next to the area above, Roy Lancaster and the party he was showing round came up and told me while I shovelling WGP mulch ‘Thats stuff will put roots on your boots’ an expression I have never heard since. Another amusing anecdote is the rather ornate water butt in the corner it had a really lovely Iris unguicularis ‘Walter Butt’ growing next to it; I have really only just figured out the connection in the name. Anyway I found it funny!
When I was working in the woodland part of the garden, I had the joy of working with another Roy. He had been there years and used to call the previous Keeper of the Gardens ‘The Willy Spud’ ( a subtle way of calling him a dictator). The students spent much of the day listening to the social history of the gardens and the Park; as my family were connected tot the park it was interesting. The plant above is probably about 20ft tall. I remember one day Roy asked to take the dead wood out of it; this took me 2 about days but was strangely satisfying. Its my favorite early flowering shrub and deservedly so when you see how much flower and the colour it has for Febuary. The name Tower court is an Estate in Ascot just down the road where many of the Rhodies in the garden’s early days where transplanted from.