Recently I was asked by someone who lives near me in Suffolk if I had heard of a 'gardening woman' called Margaret Loch- I hadn't but I am intrigued and would love to know more especially about her involvement with camellias and Kew.
Here's what I have been told about this very grand lady:
"She was a niece of [Edwin] Lutyens and he laid out the walled garden at Stoke College [Stoke-by-Clare, Suffolk] for her. She was also on the board at Kew for a time and one of her gardeners from Stoke, William Bly, became head gardener at Kew for a while. I worked in the garden for a while ( 3 months) back in 1995 for the school but since I was the only gardener in a garden that used to have 5 or 6 gardeners and anyway spent most of the time cutting grass , I left. The walled garden with several varieties of espalliered fruit trees and vegetable beds was in a poor state and the remains of a knot garden that she designed was on its last legs. The topiary in it was in the shape of mice – her nickname was "Mouse" apparently. Other parts of the garden had given way to grass and wilderness.
'The College has in its possession a couple of her note books which they let me look at while I was there. She was something of a pioneer I gather and started a collection of trees in the front of the house running down to the river. There was a greenhouse with a large vine growing in it and another smaller one with a huge Camellia in it while I was there. I don't know if they survive. It was sad to have to leave such a beautiful place…"
We wonder if this Camellia Lady Loch was named after her? http://www.hortic.com/ics/product/18067/1 Do let me know if you have any more information on her.