Warwick photographer helps showcase historic gardens

A photographer from Warwick has helped showcase a collection of historic gardens in the town.

Gill Fletcher recently submitted a photo of Hill Close Gardens to the Royal Horticultural Society(RHS) competition for the midlands area.

Her photo, which captures colourful chrysanthemums against a backdrop of a Victorian summer house, was selected the winner and has been used on the front cover of the RHS partner gardens 2020 booklet.

Gill worked alongside Rosemary Mitchell, who is a trustee chair of the garden team at the gardens for the winning shot.

Gill said: "It’s wonderful to see the hard work of all those at Hill Close Gardens being recognised on a national footing by the RHS. It’s great to see another historical site in Warwick getting the recognition it deserves.

"The photo was the result of a team effort. It was Rosemary’s idea to submit the photo and she helped compose the shot. Of course I’m extremely proud on a personal basis and it’s lovely for me to have showcased the hard work of Rosemary and the wider Hill Close Gardens team members, many of whom are volunteers,who have truly created this image.

Gill Fletcher with Rosemary Mitchell who is holding a copy of the RHS Partner Gardens 2020 booklet featuring Hill Close Gardens.

Gill Fletcher with Rosemary Mitchell who is holding a copy of the RHS Partner Gardens 2020 booklet featuring Hill Close Gardens.

"To have such a significant part of the dispersed national collection of chrysanthemums here in the centre of Warwick is something very special."

Rosemary said: "The photo is such a brilliant combination of the history of Hill Close with the summer house, which is a listed building, and the high standard of horticulture with the chrysanthemums.

"Around 10 percent of our visitors are RHS members and these booklets go out all members across the country, which is wonderful news.

"The photo just shows the wonderful colours the chrysanthemums make in the gardens. They are winter proof, you don't have to dig them out and they are really hardy - most being the type of chrysanthemums your grandmother used to grow. We have all together about 63 different sorts."

Hill Close Gardens

Hill Close Gardens

Having been at the gardens for around 20 years Rosemary has watched the gardens develop. She said: "It has been wonderful to see the development of the gardens and for us to have the prestigious collection of hardy border chrysanthemums.

"Gill has become involved at the gardens and has been taking some excellent photos as part of the transformation visitor experience project, which has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

"We aim to have photos of most of the many collections in the gardens as part of the interactive screen for the public in the new visitor room. It will show them the history of the gardens.

"These are Victorian gardens and each one would have been owned by someone in Warwick, most being by people living in the market place, where people didn't have gardens.

GV of one of the plots in Hill Close Gardens

GV of one of the plots in Hill Close Gardens

"We are the only Victorian gardens in the country that is open to the general public."

Gill, who is also a volunteer at the gardens, said: "My main role is to produce image content for an interactive screen that is being set up within the visitor centre.

"This will enable visitors to better understand the extent of the plant collections, the individual plots and importantly the listed summer house buildings.

"I’m also hoping we can use the images for all sorts of other purposes that help publicise and raise awareness of Hill Close Gardens and possibly raise income towards the running costs.

"Warwick Court Leet have very kindly donated a grant to enable me to produce a set of large canvas prints that are on display within the visitor centre. I and Hill Close Gardens are very grateful for this grant funding."

For more information about Hill Close Gardens and opening time go to: http://hillclosegardens.com/