Lady Anne Sophia Berry (née Walpole, 11 December 1919) is an English and New Zealand horticulturist who founded Rosemoor Garden. She offered the garden to the Royal Horticultural Society in 1988. In 1990 she married Bob Berry and went to live on his farm at Tiniroto, Gisborne, New Zealand. She then created the Homestead Garden of Hackfalls Arboretum.
Anne was born in 1919 to the Walpole family in England. Her father was Robert Horace Walpole, the fifth and last Earl of Orford (10 July 1854 – New Zealand 27 September 1931). He married twice. His second marriage was on 15 September 1917 with Emily Gladys Oakes (then styled as Countess of Orford), daughter of Rev. Thomas Henry Royal Oakes, and the mother of Anne.
One of the Walpole family members had been recorded at the siege of Acre in 1191. Later generations remained an established part of the British political, cultural and literary world. Some famous ancestors were:
The title passed through the generations, Anne's father becoming the last Earl in 1894. He was aged 67 when she was born. He had no son, and decided to make over the family estate of Wolterton Hall (North Norfolk) of 4,000 acres (16 km2) to a distant male cousin in 1928. He emigrated to Manurewa, New Zealand, in 1928, and died in 1931.
In 1923 he had bought a 16 hectares (0.16 km2) property called Rosemoor in North Devon as a fishing lodge. Anne and her mother lived there after 1928, interspersed with three visits to NZ in the 1930s. Thus Anne spent part of her youth in New Zealand. The free life in New Zealand suited her. Anne didn't go to school and had a governess, but she used to dodge her, going hunting.
Back in England as a debutante proved to be a restricting time with al the social niceties including being present at Court.Her mother created some of the earliest garden features at Rosemoor, such as the Stone Garden, which still lies at the heart of Lady Anne's Garden. 25 November 1939 Anne married Colonel Eric Palmer. Her early married life was spent "camp following" the regiment, including two and a half years in Northern Ireland. Rosemoor was lent to the Red Cross as a rest home for Londoners from the East End suffering the effects of the Blitz. 6 March 1943 her first son John Robert was born. Anthony Eric Fletcher was born 4 November 1945. After the war her husband bought more land around Rosemoor and established a dairy farm. Anne's passion was horses in those days.
"Lady Anne's initiation into gardening was somewhat akin to the conversion of St. Paul."In 1959 Anne stayed in Algeciras, Spain, for two weeks to recuperate from measles. There she met Collingwood Ingram, a well-known English plantsman, who opened her eyes to the world of plants. Collingwood Ingram sent loads of plants to Rosemoor from his own garden in Benenden, Kent. This was the start of a marvellous collection. In 1960 serious development of the garden started. Soon there were other mentors like Lionel Fortescue (The Garden House at Buckland Monachorum ), the Heathcoat-Amory family of Knightshayes Court and others.
She rapidly grew a knowledge on conditions plants needed. Travels to New Zealand and Australia, Papua New Guinea, Japan, North America and temperate South America allowed her to see plants and plant combinations growing in their natural habitats, and gave her opportunities to collect material.
In the late 1960s she joined the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). Robin Herbert, who later became a president of RHS invited her to join Floral Committee 'B' which judged woody plants and new introductions. She was also a Founder Member of the National Council for the Preservation of Plants and Gardens (NCCPG).
In 1965 she joined the International Dendrology Society (IDS). In the 1970s she chaired the tours committee for nine years until about 1983. She then became chairperson of the Society for nearly five years. In 1970 she visited New Zealand and went to see Eastwoodhill Arboretum, Ngatapa, Gisborne. Its founder, William Douglas Cook had died a few years before. "Despite its then run-down condition it was to me a very impressive collection, at that time managed single-handedly by Bill Crooks", she remembered.In 1977 a group of members of the IDS visited New Zealand again. She then nominated Eastwoodhill for the first brass plaque presented by the IDS for tree collections of outstanding merit. She then visited Abbotsford Arboretum (now Hackfalls Arboretum), the creation of Bob Berry for the first time.
In 1979 Anne started a small nursery at Rosemoor. By 1987 the catalogue expanded to over 1000 items. She developed a collection of less common trees, and of Hollies (Ilex) and Dogwood (Cornus), later resulting in Rosemoor holding part of the UK NCCPG National Collection for these plants.
In 1980 her husband died. In 1988 Anne offered Rosemoor to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS): the house and the garden (8 acres (0.032 km2)), and the remaining 32 acres (0.13 km2) of the estate, that was farmland. By 1990 Rosemoor was opened as a "garden for all seasons".
In 1990 Anne led a group of IDS members to Hackfalls Arboretum for the second time. She married Bob Berry later that same year. "The story of Bob and Anne Berry of Hackfalls is a classic one in terms of the bonds created by dendrology".The marriage took place in England, but they came to live at Tiniroto.
In July 2006 Bob and Anne Berry left Hackfalls Station to live in Gisborne (town).
Rosemoor Garden was created by Lady Anne over a period of some thirty years, from about 1960 to 1988. She described it as "a sort of mini Wisley". 32 acres (13 ha) of land.Wisley is the "flagship garden of the RHS". In 1988 she gave the garden to the Royal Horticultural Society, together with an additional
Christopher Bailes, curator of Rosemoor Garden, stated in 1988: "Lady Anne's garden was (and remains) a very personal garden, largely informal and relaxed in style, with extensive areas of parkland and arboretum. The 'new' RHS developments were intended both to expand upon and to complement the existing garden, featuring diverse and wide-ranging plantings, many in a more formal framework, with particular emphasis on ornamental and productive horticulture."
Hackfalls Arboretum, Tiniroto, Gisborne, New Zealand, was the creation of Bob Berry, who started planting trees at his station in the 1950s, and created interesting collections of poplars, maples, oaks etc. Bob became a member of the IDS in 1977 and in October 1982 joined a tour to Mexico, which was the beginning of a particular interest in Central American Oaks (Quercus), which would later form the most important part of the collection of Hackfalls Arboretum. In later years other trips to Mexico followed to collect acorns.
When Anne came to live at Hackfalls Station in 1990 the management of the farm had already been taken over by Diane and Kevin Playle (Diane is a daughter of Bob Berry's sister Pet), the name being changed from Abbotsford Station to Hackfalls Station. Hackfalls Station had been the name of the original property of the Berry family at Tiniroto, when they first came to live there at the beginning of the 20th century. The collection of the arboretum at 1990 contained about 3,000 taxa. The number of different species of trees, shrubs and climbers has been enlarged since then. Anne extended the homestead garden at Hackfalls and introduced many new plantings.
In 1993 the arboretum was protected by a covenant with the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust.
Since 2006 Diane Playle takes care of the arboretum and the homestead garden. The collection at the arboretum in 2008 held 3,500 different taxa.