Down memory lane

While we all wait for this year’s growing season to get going I thought I would take a walk down memory lane and look at some old photos of Cressing Temple. We are thinking of creating a display of Cressing memories and would like to share photos of the gardens,  buildings or people connected with the site, either recently or in the past.

In the meantime here are some oldies I have found. First some views of the site before it was purchased by Essex County Council in 1987.

The Barley Barn as it was in Frank Cullen’s day.

And some views from the moat, looking across to the Wheat Barn.

And Frank Cullen himself of course, owner of the site from 1913 – 1971.

And his much loved walled garden as it was in his day.


Moving ahead to the early days of ECC ownership, an aerial view of the site before work on the garden began.

Following archaeological excavation of the garden, plans were made for a new layout. The man with the beard and green folder under his arm is Martin Wakelin, one of the architects of the new design. Explaining his vision that is now our reality perhaps.

Notice the quince trees in the background – no longer there sadly.

The early days of the garden construction, half a fountain and no sign of the star pool yet.

A very new looking platform!

And the finished fountain looking rather exposed with hardly any plants for cover. Roy Martin, the site warden, and Martin Wakelin admiring the work.

Early days, with an embryonic knot garden and step over hawthorn hedge! Can’t do that these days.

Moving on to memories of the lovely old apple tree standing in what is now our pumpkin patch.  One of the many victims of honey fungus in the garden.

And so was the huge walnut that stood to the right of the Gardeners’ Shelter.

The team of carpenters who built the shelter in 2008.

My first memories when I started as gardener in 2012 were of a garden that looked like this! Exuberant and free some might say, and certainly charming, but a little too unruly perhaps?

My colleague Jane and I had our work cut out!

The sacred border was full of old rosemary plants, due for a renovation.

And the trellis had definitely seen better days.

Work to replace all the old trellis soon made a huge difference.

With the team of volunteer gardeners growing stronger every year it became much easier to keep the garden looking well cared for.

Sad losses like the old apple tree became opportunities for new ideas.

And with the Friends Group working hard to raise money for the garden, some bigger improvements became possible.

And so it is with any garden. Ever changing, always developing, and such is the delight of gardening.

Today the gardens have more volunteers caring for them than ever before and the Friends Group is going from strength to strength. The results of such a team effort are there for all to see.  Who knows what memories we will be looking back on in the years to come but they will all add to the rich history of the garden’s  circa 460 year history.

If you have memories of the gardens to add, please let us know. You could copy photos onto a memory stick, email them to us, bring in a photocopy or show us the originals for us to scan.

Happy Easter and happy gardening.










%d bloggers like this: