VBG is 40 years old!
23 June 2012
Friends, supporters and past and present staff of the Botanic Garden joined together for an evening celebration exactly 40 years after VBG was formally opened as ‘Steephill Pleasure Gardens with special botanical interest’.
First, the gathering was invited to remember the occasion on 21st June 1972 when Lord Louis Mountbatten did the honours and toured the new garden; then there was music and refreshment in the Garden Café, and John Curtis and Chris Kidd made speeches looking forward to a new era which will build on the achievements of the past. (Incidentally, the name was changed to Ventnor Botanic Garden in 1975 following another visit by Lord Mountbatten accompanied by the Queen Mother.)
Despite wet and blustery conditions, almost everyone attending the 40th anniversary bash joined one of tours scripted by local historian and longstanding volunteer and Friend of the Garden, Jonyth Hill. She was among the guides bringing the past back to life in the locations that Lord Mountbatten toured in a Mini Moke with Sir Harold Hillier (who donated hundreds of plants and helped plan the Garden) and the first Superintendent of VBG, Roy Dore. The tours passed the Cypress Oak (Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’) planted by Lord Mountbatten during the opening ceremony and paid tributes along the way to Harold Lanfear and Mona Zink (Chairman and Secretary of the Isle of Wight Botanic Garden Society which promoted the venture, and later founder members of the VBGFS), Sir Harold Hillier, Roy Dore and his employer, Ventnor Urban District Council.
Click here to read the full report, including mention of special guests, Royal approval, and who said what.
Lord Lieutenant, Major General Martin White cutting the birthday cake made by Garden Café chef Martyn Cutler.