Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Co-Op and Edward Jenner Museum in an English Country Garden

On 30th June 2009, 14 volunteer gardeners are visiting Berkeley for the day to give the Edward Jenner Museum a tidy-up/make-over in Jenner’s former garden. The Museum run by a charitable trust is the Co-Op’s chosen recipient for assistance this year out of the whole Mid-counties region, which has delighted staff at the famous Gloucestershire attraction.

As part of the Co-op ethos staff have to do ‘community hours’ which must go towards a worthwhile project. Museum Director Sarah Parker said: We are very grateful to the Co-op team for their most generous offer to help us in our efforts to improve and renovate our garden. We hope eventually to re-plant Jenner’s garden to as it was in the 18/19th Century. We are working with garden designer, Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall on the project but need support, research and as a charity, above all funds.

The Museum currently operates with one part-time Gardener/Maintenance Manager who apart from looking after nearly one acre of garden, also looks after Edward Jenner’s 200 year old vine, planted from cuttings taken from the world’s oldest vine at Hampton Court Palace in 1801. The delicious dessert grapes (Black Hamburg) will be on sale at the museum from August and cuttings are also available.

The assistance the Co-Op volunteers will provide is an immense boost to the Museum’s “outdoor look”. After the Co-Op team has left long-term volunteers in the garden are needed for ongoing assistance and the Museum is looking for an Apprentice Vine-Keeper, to learn the ancient craft of vine-keeping.

Jenner himself apparently experimented with blood as fertilizer and was a keen gardener, along with his world famous medical research activities.

This year celebrates the 260th anniversary of Edward Jenner’s birth and his garden has one noticeable scar on the lawn. The trench left by the University of Bristol’s archeological dig is being left open for visitors to see Saxon Berkeley. Sarah Parker said We doubt that Jenner would have been aware of how much history was under his lawn!

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