Presenter Michael Portillo’s visit to Stoke Poges Memorial Gardens, ‘Buckinghamshire’s hidden gem’, as part of the popular Great British Railway Journeys BBC TV series will be screened next week.
The production team visited the Gardens while filming the 12th series, which focuses on Britain between the world wars and the 1930s, which is when the land was acquired by Sir Noel Mobbs opening as a Garden of Remembrance.
During a tour of the gardens, Head Gardener Franzi Cheeseman tells Michael about the history and the designer of the gardens, why the gardens are important and why they were considered pioneering works at the time.
In the programme Michael helps plant a yew tree in a newly designed part of the gardens – a reference to Thomas Gray’s poem ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ which was inspired by St Giles’ churchyard which sits next door to the gardens.
Set in 22 acres, these Grade I listed gardens, which are maintained and managed by Buckinghamshire Council, were designed by Edward White, a leading landscape architect in the 1930s. Stoke Poges Memorial Gardens are widely considered his best creation and took five years to complete.
The gardens provide a calmness and peace, colour and beauty, whatever the season. Woodlands, formal planting, pools, fountains, rills, parterres, a rockery and a wisteria pergola fill the gardens, which sit alongside the Stoke Park landscape, created by Capability Brown and Humphry Repton.
Martin Dickman, Service Director for Neighbourhood Services, said: “We are so lucky to have these beautiful gardens on our doorstep. The site is open from dawn to dusk and I’d encourage everyone to visit these unique gardens. The Wisteria, which was listed in the top 10 Wisterias in the Telegraph in 2016, will be starting to flower in two weeks’ time and really is a must see.
“Taking part in the filming was a fantastic experience for Franzi and her team. The programme’s production team were all so lovely and genuinely interested in the work we and the Friends of the Gardens do and the people involved including the Garden Ninjas, a volunteer gardening group who help keep on top of the weeds and who enjoy the company, fresh air and exercise.”
The show will be screened on Wednesday, 28 April, 6:30pm on BBC2.
More information about the Memorial Gardens can be found on Buckinghamshire Council’s website: http://bit.ly/StokePoges
Stoke Poges Memorial Gardens can be contacted by email: memorialgardens.csb@