The First European Symposium on Kitchen Gardens – news and updatesBack to the grapevine

We have now completed the first 3 meetings of the Symposium, the forth to follow on the 8th April 2021. There are in excess of 250 participants, including two from as far away as Russia!

Since our first meeting in October, the live interpretation has been going well. We are learning to avoid presentations containing video for example because the huge variability in broadband across Europe gives poor results. As we all get better at using Zoom we are taking advantage of the flexibility in the technology to run each meeting.

Following a focussed introduction from Susan Campbell, we had three brilliant guest speakers for the December meeting. Hermann van den Bossche, Sarah Wain and Ghislaine d’Ursel described the knowledge used in the management in important historic kitchen gardens which included; the skill in training fruit trees at Gaasbeek, the management of growing in Victorian glasshouses at West Dean, and the production, forcing and storing in the extraordinary cellars at Chateau d’Hex.

We were able to include discussion sessions with several participants joining the panel to ask questions directly of the speakers based on conversations in the Chat function of Zoom.

For the February meeting we had 4 new speakers and very different subject matter – looking at new functions within historic kitchen gardens – the hotel and restaurant in restored gardens at Chateau Colbert by Dominique Popihn, the remarkable community work scheme at l’Abbaye de Saint Georges de Boscherville by Serge Conreur & Thierry Hay, and from Stephane Repas Mendes, the Chateau de Prangins, where the kitchen gardens are managed as a part of the Chateau Museum. Jost Albert, a long time friend of WKGN, described the conservation of kitchen gardens of the historic Palaces in Bavaria. Less time for discussion but again fantastic conversations followed in the Chat.

The speakers all had live interpretation – our translator Marjorie doing a great job, but of course that can’t work for the Chat. We are therefore copying that discussion into both English and French to send out with details of the talks after the meetings, so that we don’t miss the fabulous knowledge being shared in those conversations as well.

You can still sign up for the next meeting – looking at excellence in conservation, horticultural skills and the economic model.

Finally, a group has been set up, to bring together people who are working on restoration projects (large and small), with others who have experience of previous restoration work. If you’d like to join the group, or find a out more, let us know in the comments, or by email to Mike or Lucy .

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