A GARDENING society enjoyed an outing where members took in one of the country's most beautiful gardens.

Once again Judy Smith, the Outings’ Secretary, of conjured up some beautiful weather for the Bidford on Avon and District Gardening Society’s summer outing to the Savill Gardens within Windsor Great Park on July 18th.

Managed by the Crown Estates and created in the 1930’s by Sir Eric Savill, these award winning gardens of some 35 acres offer many inter-connecting areas containing some rare plants from around the world. Features include the Golden Jubilee Garden, Alpine Beds, Azalea Walks, The Glades, New Zealand Garden, Mediterranean Garden and the Rose Garden with an elevated walkway.

Stunning herbaceous borders, lakes and tranquil woodland walks, plus the Queen Elizabeth Temperate House opened by Her Majesty in 1995, complete the experience of these delightful gardens. After lunch the group re-joined the coach and were taken on a very interesting, guided Royal Heritage Tour of Windsor Great Park. Extending to about 8 square miles in total, this sweeping historic parkland with its ancient woodland and forest trails can be traced back through almost a 1,000 years of Royal history to William the Conqueror.

Highlights of the tour included the Coronation Groves, the Guards’ Polo Club fields, the only statue in the UK of Queen Elizabeth II on horseback and a unique, stunning view along the Long Walk from the Copper Horse statue of George III to Windsor Castle. The park is open to the public for walking and cycling, but vehicular access is strictly limited. A stop on the way home at a Garden Centre for afternoon tea and cakes rounded off a splendid day.

The Society next meets on Thursday, 15th August when Robin Pearce will present an evening on “How to Create a Prairie in your own Backyard.”

All meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month at 7.45pm in the Crawford Memorial Hall, Bidford on Avon. Visitors are always welcome at only £3, including refreshments. For further details, please ring Annette Haines on 01789 268974 or go to bidfordgardens.com Janice Ferguson