ONE OF Oxfordshire's best kept secrets is the Harcourt Arboretum, a satellite of Oxford University's own Botanic Garden. The collection was established by the Harcourt family in the mid 1830s, but for the past 30 years or so, has been under the wing of the Botanic Garden. In spring it lights up with masses of azaleas, planted in drifts under the trees, and there is a 10-acre bluebell wood as well. The arboretum is 400 yards south of Nuneham Courtenay on the A4704 Oxford-Henley road. During April it is open Mon-Fri (10am-4.30pm). From May through to the end of October it is open every day (10am-5pm).
MONEY RAISED by the National Gardens Scheme goes to many good causes, including the National Trust, where NGS money provides bursaries for five trainee gardeners each year. The Careership scheme, as it is called, addresses the problem of producing gardeners with the right skills to care for historic gardens. Students work in Trust gardens under the eye of its head gardener and also study at Bicton College in Devon. Current apprentices include 16-year-old Colin Wood, who joined the scheme from school last year, and Jacqueline Currie (36), who left the Inland Revenue at Aylesbury to train as a gardener at Wimpole Hall in Cambridge. For more details about the scheme or an application form to join the new intake this September, contact John McKennall on 01208 265245.Reuse content