In September Garden History members met at the Augres Storeroom to meet Jason and Helena of Jersey Heritage, who gave the section a tour of the treasures stored in their Trinity rooms. GH were particularly interested in old garden and horticultural equipment, as well as any embroidered fabric which might show local flowers portrayed in silk and wool.
The group were given an in-depth tour and all were amazed to see the extent of the collections, all of which are arranged in related categories and all are catalogued. Both old and newer items have been donated and overall, reflect the social history of the island. Oldest items start from the 1500s and newer ones are from e.g. well-known local chemists and a recently closed jeweller’s shop, as well as unusual pharmaceutical equipment from the hospital laboratory. A delightful Hamon’s delivery bicycle, enormous street lamps and a white Victorian baby’s cot were among the gems. Some of the duplicated heavy agricultural machinery might shortly be given a new home at another Heritage site.
Many heavy wooden wheelbarrows have been saved, plus old carts and a very unusual carved wheelbarrow once gifted to the seigneur of Samares Manor.
The fabric collection is apparently large but we were just shown a few items including a very beautiful paisley shawl and some embroidered table cloths. It was noticeable that the flowers sewn on cloths did not accurately mirror flowers growing in Jersey gardens, but were stylised forms.
GH members were given a handout (not by Heritage) about Medieval fabrics and their flowers, and information about enclosed Medieval gardens – the “hortus conclusus”, and how they were portrayed by artists of medieval times. The garden and flower paintings (as in florilegia) of the 1500s showed recognisable plants which, if they were known in France and Holland, could possibly have made their way to Jersey.