Caversham Court Gardens-4

Reading gains Thames & Chilterns in Bloom Gold and Silver Gilt Awards

  • Thames & Chilterns Gold Award for Caversham Court Gardens
  • Henley Road Cemetery receives Silver Gilt Award

READING has been awarded prestigious Gold and Silver Gilt Awards in the 2022 Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) annual Thames and Chilterns in Bloom community gardening competition.

Caversham Court has received a gold accolade for its beautiful grounds and a national certificate of distinction from the RHS, for the ‘Best Park 2022’ within Berks, Bucks and Oxon.

The judges, who visited Reading in July, offered high praise for Caversham Court. They said of the park: “It is packed with history, from the specimen trees to the beautifully restored gazebo. Despite its size, it provides for a wide range of visitors …….It is an excellent example of a green space with a high standard of horticultural and arboricultural management and maintenance.

“A high standard of horticultural input is clearly visible and enjoyed by the public, this is achieved by the dedication of the Head Gardener on site who takes a personal role in maintaining a high standard of excellence.”

Caversham Court Gardens - Gold Winner

They also praised the community allotments ‘provides a valuable resource for wellbeing’ and The ‘vibrant Friends Group’ that ‘provides a wealth of historical knowledge to the local community and it's organised walks throughout the year.’

The Henley Road Crematorium won a Silver-Gilt for the grounds. The judges highlighted the careful and sensitive layout of the grounds, the attractive planting, wonderful mature trees and the rewilded areas managed as habitats for specific species ‘even badgers and slow worms!’

They particularly praised the site’s sustainability measures: “The well-executed management plan …. including areas managed for biodiversity - from log piles and wildflower areas to bird boxes…..The move towards peat-free compost, the minimal use of pesticides and the green waste being either recycled or put to use on the site is commended.”

Henley Road Cemetery

The judges were also impressed by the community engagement: “The site provides a great resource for local schoolchildren with visits and activities around Remembrance and social history.”

Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Neighbourhoods and Communities, said: “These awards are great achievements for Reading and something we should be very proud of. To achieve both Gold and Silver Gilt Awards in the Thames and Chilterns in Bloom is fantastic news for the town. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved. 

“Following on from its impressive Green Flag & Green Award Heritage Site Awards this summer, Caversham Court Gardens has rightfully been highlighted by the judges as the Best Park in the entire Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire region. Those that know and love the Park know it is one of our best-kept secrets!  The Gold Award is a clear reflection of the hard work and dedication put in by both the Council’s staff and the dedicated volunteer Friends group throughout the year to ensure this site remains amongst Reading's most treasured open spaces.

“I’m particularly pleased to see Henley Road Cemetery gaining further well-deserved recognition with its Silver Gilt Award for its sensitive displays, rewilded habitats and engagement with the communities it serves. The award is truly a testament to successful joint cooperation and work between the parks and bereavement teams.”

View more photos of Caversham Court Gardens here: