The Gardens of Westminster Abbey

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Jan Pancheri

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Scala Arts & Heritage Publishers Ltd
Territory: World
Size: 210 mm x 220 mm
Pages: 48
Illustrations: 70 colour

RRP £6.95

  • A beautifully illustrated guide to Westminster Abbey's three gardens, written from the uniquely informed and personal perspective of their Head Gardener
  • First publication on the subject

When Thorney Island on the north bank of the Thames was chosen, in the tenth century, as the site of a Benedictine monastery, it was not only for the proximity to water for fish and transport, but also for its fertile land. Benedictine monks were gardeners and the infirmarer's garden, now College Garden, is believed to be the oldest in England. Following the dissolution, the various abbey gardens no longer retained their individual roles, but they were still used and enjoyed by the resident clergy and the pupils of Westminster School.

This personal guide to the gardens, by Head Gardener Jan Pancheri, focuses on those gardens that the visitor will see as they walk towards and through the cloisters, recounts their history, and discusses her planting philosophy, the challenges of the different garden spaces, and her favourite shrubs and flowers. The guide is beautifully illustrated with Jan's own artwork and a selection of exquisite photographs.

Jan Pancheri came to work in the garden in 1999 and became Head Gardener in 2002. Since then she has researched the history of the gardens and tried to plant according to what seemed to fit here. This has included fruit trees, wild flowers, herbal plants and even vegetables. Brought up in Worcestershire, she has tried to bring a breath of the countryside to Central London. As well as being a gardener, Jan has written and illustrated children's books, including Brother William's Year set in the medieval Westminster Abbey, as seen through the eyes of a monk and his dog. She has also written articles for garden publications and newspapers. For many years she produced the Abbey's Greenhouse magazine for the staff. Visitors frequently remark that she has the "best job", and Jan finds it hard to disagree.

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Gardens of Westminster Abbey was featured in Church Times

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