RIP PAUL MILES - Founding member and first chairman of the Suffolk Gardens Trust.
Paul died on 14th June 2017 aged 75 was a life - long garden enthusiast and who, some twenty two years ago, inspired by the beginnings of the County Garden Trusts organisation led by Mrs Gilly Drummond, laid the foundations of the organisation that we - in Suffolk, enjoy today. Paul's energy and determination secured initial funding from Barclays Bank with support from Notcutts. Through his wide circle of contacts, Paul recruited Lady Gabriella Marlesford as Patron and as Hon Treasurer - Guy de Moubray - a retired senior official of the Bank of England. He was largely responsible for gaining charitable status for the Trust and for dealing with the complexities of the charity requirements and the attendant Constitution. Adam Paul was the first Vice chairman and other early council members included :- Edward Martin, Barbara Seagall, - an experienced journalist, Caroline Coowper, Cmdr. Michael Eveleigh, John Mossessman, and John Huntingford. Lynn Dicker became Secretary.
The Trust was launched at Haughley Park on 24th March 1995 with Rosemary Verey as the speaker - a garden designer and artist who was a close friend of Paul.
The first four years of Paul's career were spent at Ingwersen's Alpine Nursery, the one of the world's best known of it's type. He benefitted considerably from having the run of the library that the family had gradually built up. Two years as a student gardener at Wisely Gardens followed and there Paul honed his skills at net working as Secretary of the Lindley Society ( open to staff and students ) organising lectures and visits - very successfully.
Next Paul joined Notcutts Landscape Department on a three year training arrangement during which time he won a Bowles Memorial Travel Scholarship from the RHS. This monetary award enabled him to tour the gardens of Europe, also of North America.
After seven years, Paul moved to the National Trust as a Horticulturist ( a gardens advisor in effect. ) Paul - well read and cultured, was ideally suited to this post in so many ways - but it involved a lot of travelling throughout the UK including Northern Ireland. The next step was to set up as a Garden Designer on his own account, partly in the hope of reducing the travelling. Ironically, this caused him to travel widely from Mexico to Russia, China, Brazil and Japan designing and restoring over seven hundred gardens including making a roof garden for a giant department store in Osaka.
Paul wrote articles and led overseas tours for the Garden History Society and Garden Museum : he continued in this way until ill health reduced his mobility. He was briefly married otherwise he lived alone - in Yoxford but mainly in Woodbridge.
Paul was very proud of his prodigy Mehdi Zarrei whom he had helped generously and whose career is well established in Canada. In Mehdi's own words " Paul had a heart of gold and I owe my life to Paul for his support." Mehdi is now a Research Associate at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
The last few years have been dogged with increasingly limited mobility although Paul coped with a mountain walk abroad quite recently.
The last SGT visit Paul attended was at Kelsale in September 2016. Always interested in the programme and looking to the future, Paul was a real enthusiast to the end.
The Suffolk Gardens Trust has lost it's founding figure.