A local horticulturalist who founded Rosemoor.
Lady Anne Berry came from an aristocratic family, which included Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, the first Earl of Orford. Her father was the fifth Earl. He was already 67 when Anne was born, and had no male heir, so before he died, he made over his family estate in Norfolk to a distant male cousin, then emigrated to Australia, where he died in 1931. In 1923, he had bought a smaller property at Rosemoor, near Torrington, which he used as a fishing lodge, and where Anne and her mother lived when not in New Zealand.
She liked the carefree New Zealand life and found being a debutante and courtier in London somewhat stifling. In 1939, she married Colonel Eric Palmer, and as a young military wife followed her husband from post to post, including a two-and-a-half year stay in Northern Ireland. Anne had two children, John and Eric.
During the War, Rosemoor was lent to the Red Cross.. After the War, her husband bought more land at Rosemoor, where she established a dairy farm, and rode horses.
In 1959, she went to southern Spain to recuperate from a bout of measles, and met Collingwood ‘Cherry’ Ingram, a well-known plantsman, who introduced her to the world of horticulture, and gave her some specimens from his own garden in Kent. With the help of other gardeners, and together with her own collection of plants from her extensive travels abroad, she began to develop her garden at Rosemoor.
In the late sixties, she joined the RHS, and then the International Dendrology Society, of which she was chair for five years from 1983 onwards.
This job took her all over the world, including a trip to New Zealand, and to Hackfalls Arboretum, created by Bob Berry.
In 1979, she started a small nursery at Rosemoor, containing over a thousand items. Then in 1980 her husband Eric died, she found it increasingly difficult to manage the estate, so she offered the garden, the house and the remaining farmland to the RHS. In 1990 Rosemoor was opened to the general public.
In the same year, she made another visit to New Zealand and Hackenfalls Arboretum, where she married Bob Berry. You could say the marriage was rooted in a love of trees. The wedding took place in England, but she then went to live in New Zealand,in Gisbourne.
RHS Garden Rosemoor is now a major attraction in North Devon, with more than 100,000 visitors a year.