Abbots Ripton Hall Garden & Food Show

Members travelled to Lord de Ramsey's garden in Abbots Ripton to support this major Charity Garden and Food Show.

Manor House

30th June- 1st July 2012

Abbots Ripton is a village and civil parish, together with the manor house – Abbots Ripton Hall, situated five miles north of Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, England.  Lord de Ramsey opens up the grounds of his house every two years for a major Charity Garden and Food Show in aid of charities including local Huntingdon Cromwell Rotary Club Charities, and many others.  This year’s event took place on the 30th June and the 1st July 2012, and Rotary Club of Billericay supported the event with members travelling to the gardens on the Saturday June 30th, 2012.

Members were very lucky with the weather, since despite and early morning heavy shower in Billericay before they set off, the day at Abbots Ripton was notable for the sunshine and dry weather.  More than one member left the gardens with a sunburnt face.

Although there was no entry to the house, the extensive grounds contains many fine old trees, including elms injected annually against Dutch elm disease, and some very rare ones, such as the lovely Acer Cappadocicum and the Fraxinus Angustifolia 'Raywood', whose leaves turn purple in autumn. Spectacular roses include the very old 'Rosa Shailer's White Moss' replanted in 1940 in the herbaceous border by Lord de Ramsey's mother, though first recorded in 1788.  The Abbots Ripton Estate has grown from 2,000 acres, originally purchased in 1737 by Coulson Fellowes, and now totals some 5,700 acres. The first member of the Fellowes family to live at Abbots Ripton Hall was another Coulson Fellowes - grandfather of the present Lord De Ramsey.  During WWI the hall was converted into a hospital and administered by Lord de Ramsey's great-grandmother, daughter of the 7th Duke of Marlborough and aunt of Winston Churchill.

 When the Lord De Ramsey's father took up residence in the hall in 1937, the gardens contained many fine old trees - an ideal framework for his parents to build up the gardens to the eight acres seen today.  The Rose circle and Grey Border, and additional rare trees in the arboretum, were added in the 1950's.

The show comprised over 80 Trade Stands, with products ranging from plants and flowers for sale, to wood carvings, garden furniture, food items, clothing, and hats.  There was a tombola and a silent auction with a great variety of gifts ranging from holidays, tea at the House of Commons, a Balloon ride, hospitality packages at this autumn’s England vs. South Africa Rugby match at Twickenham,  and many more.

There was also a small funfair for children (a bouncy castle and a roundabout, and a display of vintage cars (and a coach).

Throughout the day, a number of gardening and food talks took place in the main marquee with various speakers including Steve Brookes, BBC Gardening Presenter and Author (talking about 'The Greatest Gardening Tips in the World’).

Hot & Cold Food was available all day – including a Grill, an English Hog Roast, Mexican Burritos, Traditional English Sausages, The Deli, Tea & Coffee - Pimms & Beer Bar, pies, cheese and other delicacies.

Afternoon Teas were served on the lawn from 11.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. by Huntingdon & Peterborough Federation of Womens Institute.

Members had a very enjoyable time before making the journey home.