Alvide Lees-Milne

Lily-sniffing parties in Suffolk

Not far from where I garden in Suffolk is the exquisite village of Boxford full of the honey-coloured wood-framed houses that the county is so famed for. One has just come on the market but for those in the know, it isn't the house that's the big draw but the garden. For this was the home of Jenny Robinson, veteran plantswoman, who died aged 94 years old last August.

I never met Jenny but her reputation as a great 'Gardening Woman' lives on. So I'm delighted to reproduce (with their permission) short memories of Jenny from the latest edition of the Plant Heritage Suffolk Group Journal (Spring 2011).

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[Jenny Robinson] persuaded many of us to join Plant Heritage (then the NCCPG) having been a founder and President of the Suffolk Group and was unstinting in her gifts of plants to be sold for the cause. For many years, Jenny kept the National Collection of Muscari in her garden and had one named Muscari 'Jenny Robinson' which she discovered in Cyprus. Two other plants from her garden she gave to us for distributing amonst members, Narcissus 'Osborne's Grey' and Narcissus 'Jenny's Little Sister'.

Her garden was a triumph and was still being opened to the public right up to the spring before her death in August [2010], four days before her 94th birthday.

MAGGIE THORPE

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Jenny's garden at Chequers, Boxford, [was] featured in Alvide Lees-Milne and Rosemary Verey's book, An Englishwoman's Garden, published in 1980.

Lilies were among her plant passions, and she was a member of the RHS Lily Committee, then the Lily Group Committee from 1976-89. Many friends will remember being summoned to her 'Lily-sniffing Parties', held at short notice on the summer evening when she judged the lilies in her garden to be at their best.

WIDGET FINN

 

If you'd like to find out more about Plant Heritage or the local Plant Heritage group in Suffolk, please click on the links. They will be running the bi-annual Plant Fair at Helmingham Hall in Suffolk on Sunday 29 May which attracts dozens of specialist nurseries to the grounds of the famous gardens created by Xa Tollemache at Helmingham.