"Paradise and Plenty; The How, Wow and Why of Old and New" accompanies the book recently published by Pimpernel Press about the gardens and garden designer of the Rothschild's Waddesdon manor. It is part of a series of lectures organised by Oxford's Botanical Gardens.
Accompanied by picturesque slides Mary Keen takes us through her 25 year involvement with this distinguished setting. She tells us a little (not too much) about the background of the home and its gardens which were built for, and as a homage to, Alice Rothschild.
She is a fan, but not a devotee, of 'high horticulture' of which this was a fine example. She is respectful of gardeners, to the point of admitting that the publication of her book was a kind of farewell to Waddesdon's chief resident gardener, Sue Dickinson, on her abdication of that role.
Unlike most gardeners, she is enthusiastic about gardens and the gardening process; she tells us that it's this "process, not the product " which matters, ergo her long association with Waddesdon.
The talk, lasting 40 minutes long, is not too verbose and ends in a glass of fine wine (but not a Chateau Rothschild) - always a winning combo on a freezing Thursday evening in central Oxford.