THE GARDEN History Society's Winter Lecture series this year takes as its theme Great Gardens of Europe. The season was launched earlier this month by Belinda Jupp, who talked about the rediscovered gardens of Belvedere in Co Westmeath. Other speakers include George Clark, who on 17 Feb explains the delights and difficulties involved in the restoration of the gardens at Stowe, and Dimitri Shvidovsky, vice-president of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts, who on 3 March will talk on the obsession of Catherine the Great (pictured) with all things English. All lectures take place at the Scientific Societies Lecture Theatre, New Burlington Place, London W1 and start at 6pm. Tickets cost pounds 7 each or pounds 35 for the six lectures in the series. For more information, or to book tickets in advance, contact Linda Wigley at the GHS, 77 Cowcross St, London EC1M 6BP (0171-608 2409).
BRIAN ALLT, of Sudbury in Suffolk, writes with a comment on the Gardening Workshop in The Independent on 28 November. "The worst feature shown in your picture is the mass of orange (not red, I think) brick in the back wall. Oenone Dale should try mixing some sieved soil into a bechamel consistency and rubbing it (with gloves) into a sample of brick, allowing it to weather for a few days. If, as I think will be found, it mellows, then she can apply it to the whole area. It may even encourage lichen growth, especially if she adds a bit of fine oatmeal and natural manure. Rain will soon wash off the surplus."Reuse content