This month we celebrated Laudato Si’ week (16-24 May). Laudato Si’ is Pope Francis’ Encyclical which is a profound invitation to everyone on the planet to care for our common home. The past year has given many of us greater opportunities to explore and appreciate our local environment. Might this inspire you to respond to Pope Francis’ call to take action? Here are some ideas for how you can get involved during the month of May:
Ellen Willmott: was a distinguished Horticulturist who lived in Warley Place and who is buried in the Cathedral graveyard. To find out more about Ellen, see the item below by David Worsfold.
Bee bombs: are a fun way for everyone to get involved with growing wildflowers that attract bees and butterflies. On the weekend of 21/22 May the Green Guardians parish group will be handing out bee bombs for parishioners to plant in gardens or window boxes just in time for National Children’s Gardening week (29 May – 6 June). Or you can have some fun making your own – you can find videos on how to do this on the RHS or BBC Newsbeat and other websites.
No mow May: did you know about the spectacular benefits both we and our garden wildlife receive from not mowing throughout May? Like the nation’s haircuts, can we adapt to a less rigorous regime and ‘No Mow May’? If not mowing during May is just too much to contemplate, how about leaving a portion of your lawn to grow wild or leave it longer between each cut?
Prayer without ceasing for our common home: CAFOD in collaboration with Christian Aid, Tearfund and others, invite you to join in prayer for our common home. As a parish we have committed to coming together in prayer each Monday evening at 8pm. We do this individually at home (so no Zoom required) but in the knowledge that others in the parish are doing likewise. If you would like to add your name to the list of those praying each Monday evening or would like more details please email Liz Hart at email@example.com.
Thank you for your support
Ellen Willmott – Our own great botanist
Did you know that one of the world’s most famous botanists, Ellen Willmott, is buried in the Cathedral churchyard? You can find her final resting place just through the archway to the right of the Parish Hall.
Anthony Timmins speaking at Ellen Willmott’s Grave at the Cathedral – July 2011
During her life she was credited with identifying over 60 species of plant, many bearing her name or that of her home at Warley Place. This work earned her many honours and accolades in her lifetime.
She was born into a wealthy family in 1858 and moved to the huge estate at Warley when she was in her teens. When her father died in 1892 she inherited the large family home and estate, adding to the wealth she had inherited from her Godmother, Countess Helen Tasker, four years previously.
She devoted this wealth to her passion of botany, creating fantastic gardens at Warley, where she entertained Royal visitors, and on estates she purchased in France and Italy. She also funded botanical expeditions to China and the Middle East and helped establish the Royal Horticultural Society’s gardens at Wisley.
Among her publications was a two-volume authoritative study of roses, Genus Rosa, including 132 fine watercolour illustrations.
Her talents were not restricted to botany and horticulture. She was a keen woodworker and photographer and played several musical instruments, owning a Stradivarius violin.
When she died in September 1934, she left huge debts which meant all her estates, including Warley, had to be sold. The grand house at Warley Place was demolished in 1939 and after the war several battles were fought to prevent a housing estate being built on the site.
Today her garden has been transformed into Warley Place Nature Reserve by the Essex Wildlife Trust and is a magical natural landscape well worth a visit.
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