News and events about White House Farm, Maurice Foster’s garden and arboretum in Kent, England

Welcome to the second White House Farm biennial newsletter, for Friends of White House Farm. This comes to you as an email twice yearly if you enter your email address here.


On November 9th 2022 David Alderman, Director of the Tree Register of Britain and Ireland (TROBI) led a tree measuring training day with White House Farm Volunteers. Maurice Foster is a long time Trustee of TROBI, and WHF currently has some 77 Champion trees on the register, which relative to the arboretum size is rather a lot. David taught enthusiastic WHF Volunteers how to measure trees and explained the importance of TROBI’s work.

After the enjoyable and instructive session, we were most grateful to receive a kind donation to the foundation of a rangefinder Forestry Pro 2 laser device to measure accurate tree height. We look forward to continuing this training in 2023 and to becoming a centre of tree-measuring expertise locally.  

On December 13th WHF Trustee Chris Sanders gave a talk on White House Farm plants and their history to the Cornwall Professional Gardeners Group, at the invitation of John Lanyon, who manages Trelissick and Glendurgan on behalf of the National Trust, and owns Edward Needham’s former garden at Tregye, near Truro. This Group, initiated by Sir Richard Carew-Pole in 2003 for the training and education of horticultural professionals involved in the county’s many gardens open to the public, is supported by the Cornwall Garden Society – of which Maurice Foster was a member for some years, with friends and contacts in the south-west. So Chris decided to base his presentation on the garden and arboretum of White House Farm, with particular reference to genera Maurice has specialized in over the years such as Magnolia, Betula, Acer, Hydrangea, Deutzia, Philadelphus, Camellia and Rosa. 

We were delighted to welcome Jack Aldridge to the Board of Trustees in January 2023. Jack, currently developing the new Oak woodland at RHS Wisely, and writing up several genera for the IDS Trees and Shrubs Online (crosslinks), is spearheading the logging and updating of WHF’s species and cultivar collections and is brimming with new ideas for future events.


March 9th 10-4pm: Propagation Methods Study Day for Woody plants

With WHF Trustee Chris Lane (grafts), Peter Schotter (seeds) and Maurice Foster (cuttings). The study day is intended for students or recent graduates of horticulture/botany interested in practical hands-on propagation: if you’d like to attend, please contact Clare L. E. Foster here. The day is free of charge: bring a packed lunch.

April 8th, 11-5pm: Magnolia Study Day  

Co-organised by WHF Trustee Jack Aldridge, head of Wisley’s Wild Garden (now the Oakwood). White House Farm is known for its collection of over 200 magnolias. Some were first planted more than 40 years ago and are now National champions. The study day will cover the species and cultivars in bloom, plus some of the newest introductions, hybrids and reclassified members of the genus. (These used to be included in the family Magnoliaceae, such as Michelia, but are now sunk into Magnolia). There will also be horticultural lessons drawn from growing all types of magnolias in SE England, from the early spring precocious bloomers to the summer-flowering  Oyama species. If you’d like to attend, please contact Clare L. E. Foster here.