September 2013 – News Letter

Dear All,

Danesfield House Book Signing

Tuesday, 13th August,  was an interesting day at Danesfield House, Marlow-on-Thames.   Their wonderful Pulham gardens were open to the public for the last of their four NGS Open Days, and I went along with Val Christman for a book signing session in the afternoon.Our visitors invluded Charles Boot, Editor of the Garden History Society Newsletter; Rosemary Jury MA, a Garden History Researcher, speaker and course lecturer with a particular interest in Convent Gardens; John Woodcock, and Professor Sir Roderick Floud FBA, Provist of Gresham College, Oxford; Chairperson of the Standing Committee for the Social Sciences at the Europoean Science Foundation, and President Emeritus of the London Metropolitan Universaity.  

  130813 - Danesfield - With Roderick Floud - DSCF1403 1200 x 900 With Professor Sir Roderick Floud FBA

 Sir Roderick is embarking on an economic history of British gardening, and would be grateful for any relevant information our readers may be able to provide on, for example, records of garden construction and maintenance, garden accounts and the price of plants etc.   He can be contacted at, whilst Rosemary Jury can be contacted at

 John Woodcock is directly descended from Sir Thomas Robinson Woolfield, who – as noted in Chapter 2 of Rock Landscapes: The Pulham Legacy –  commissioned Thomas Smith to design and build him some villas in Cannes.   The Clerk of Works was Obadiah Pulham, who went on to supervise the construction of churches designed by Smith in Nice, Naples and Stuttgart.   John now lives in London, and also sent me information about the ‘Black Bull of Holborn’, which was modelled by Obadiah c1825, and now stands in King Street, Hammersmith, shown in Fig 1.4 of the book.

 In the first picture, I am standing with Sir Roderick in front of a TV monitor on which I was running a trial version of ‘The Pulham Photo Album’, which I am hoping to make available for sale as a DVD sometime.   I have assembled so many photographs and archive documents over the last few years of landscapes and ornaments created by ‘The Pulhams of Broxbourne’, that it seems rather selfish to have them only available on my own computer, and this would be be a reasonable way to making them available for others to see.  

I am currently going through a very steep learning curve with this project at the moment, however, and I want to make sure that it is ‘good enough’ before making it available for wider use.   I am also thinking of enhancing the atmosphere by adding a musical background of some relaxing orchestral trackas by James Last and His Orchestra, although this would involve attaching a price that covers the cost of performing rights, as well as production and distribution etc.   I would be very interested to receive any comments that you may care to make on this project, and will keep you updated on progress.

 In the second picture, I am with John Woodcock, Charles Boot, Val Christman and Rosemary Jury.

130813 - Danesfield - With Woodcock, Boot and Jury - DSCF1404 1200 x 900

 With John Woodcock, Charles Boot, Val Christman and Rosemary Jury

What’s New on

 Believe it or not, reviews of ‘Rock Landscapes’ are still being published, even though we are now more than one year after its publication date.   One was published in The Rock Garden, Journal of the Scottosh Rock Garden Society – see – and the other in The Irish Garden – so the tide of appreciation is still spreading!   Both positive reviews are reproduced in the ‘Press and Media’ section of the website – together with the 18 others that have also been published so far.

 There is now also an article I wrote for The Rock Garden magazine, entitled ‘James Pulham in Scotland’, which was published in the July 2013 issue, together with their book review.   This contains notes and pictures of the eight Pulham gardens that are currently known to have been constructed in Scotland, and can be found at  

The ‘Site of the Month’ feature for September – ‘Where / Site of the Month / #28 – Sept 2013’ – will be ‘Davenham’, Malvern, the home of Charles Dyson Perrins, of Worcestershire Sauce fame.   The Pulham features here include a fascinating little summerhouse that leads through a fernery into a tunnel lined with a profusion of Pulhamite stalactites.   Perrins also had a summer retreat in the Highlands, at Ardross Castle, Ross-shire, which was discussed in #7 of the Series, in December 2011.

 Getting Ready for Wales!

Having got reviews of the book published in Scotland and Ireland, Val and I are getting ready to set off for our Presentation Trip to Wales at the end of September.   As many of you will know by now, the dates are:

Thursday, 26th September, 2 p.m.

St Paul’s Parish Centre, De La Beche Road, Sketty, Swansea, SA2 9AK, which is right beside St Paul’s Church – with its tall pointed spire – on the junction of De La Beche Road.   West Glamorgan Branch of the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust.   Organiser:  Ann Gardner, 01792 290014,, or Don Williams on 01792 202606.

Saturday, 28th September, 10.15 a.m.

Dewstow Golf Club, Caerwent, Monmouthshire, South Wales, NP26 5AH.    Welsh Historic Gardens Trust.    After the presentations and book-signing, there will be a light buffet lunch, followed by tours of the wonderful Gardens of Dewstow – NOT TO BE MISSED!   Admission £25 inclusive of lunch and garden tour.   Organiser:  Helena Gerrish, 01600 860005,,

 We are both looking forward to this very much indeed, and hope that as many of our friends and followers as possible will be able to make the journey.   The beauty and wonder of the Dewstow gardens just cannot be over-emphasised, and, weather permitting, this would be a great place to get together.  

 And don’t forget that:

 Rock Landscapes: The Pulham Legacy

would make The Perfect Present for a Garden-Loving Friend . .

 Very best wishes to you all,



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s