MARCH 2010-2011


Some of the readers of the Westbury-on-Trym Church website will have noticed that there have been no monthly garden updates for the last year, since February 2010.


I was conscious that there may have been some repetition from the previous year and, perhaps, it would be more relevant to provide an update covering a longer period of time.


So here goes for March 2010 up to March 2011!


As usual I have been able to call upon a variety of skills provided by some willing volunteers including James Wisheart, Janet Wisheart, Richard Lathwood, Bob Wrench, John Wrench and Caroline Deval.


Generous monetary donations have also been received from several Church members to assist with the ongoing costs of providing plants, compost and several garden products.  This has been supplemented by a regular Sunday morning table sale in the summer months of vegetables from the Church garden including runner beans, courgette, garlic and onions, along with some produce from my allotment.  Rhubarb and beetroot are always popular!


During this year I decided to grow the tomatoes in large pots stood in trays rather than in grobags, mainly because tomato plants need watering from below, to enable the plant to take as much water as it requires.  However, the small roots that appear at the base of the stem at compost level require the weekly feed.  So, Richard kindly constructed a wooden frame in front of the compost bins.  This then has a dual purpose of staking the tomato plants but, also hiding the compost bins during the growing season.


I also decided to use Hazel poles for my runner beans and squash plants on my allotment rather than bamboo, so created a wigwam with some left over poles for the squash plants in the patio garden.  The wigwam was successful but, not so the squash producing only one butternut squash.  So more organic material required this year!


The Church funds kindly paid for one hanging basket to be fitted and hung by Bristol City Council in April at the front of the Church over the car park.  Westbury-in-Bloom covered the cost of a second hanging basket to make an even bigger splash of colour.


I was able to buy and obtain some free plants from the annual Plant Sale which I used in all the Church gardens.  I was like a child in a sweet shop, thoroughly enjoying the chance to choose a variety of different plants.


Richard had decided to take down the large ivy which had grown up over the Church wall facing the Westbury-on-Trym public car park as it was causing some damage.  At the same time I had been having an interesting conversation with Sue Boyd from Westbury-in-Bloom and the car park became part of that conversation.  The banks of soil immediately alongside the Church wall were untidy and unsightly, so I decided to clear it of weeds, grass and rubble to try and create something a little more pleasing to the eye.


Sue Boyd provided me with £25 to spend at the Council Plant Sale at Blaise on summer bedding in June 2010 and so, the saga of the car park began.  In the Autumn Westbury-in-Bloom gave a further £30 to purchase some winter bedding and in March this year, I was given another £50 for some more sustainable planting.  I have just recently planted another bed with mahonia, dogwood, berberis, broom, sage, rosemary, pyracantha and euphorbia which will, hopefully, give year round colour.  I have also edged the bed with large stones from the original wall, which were spare, to try and deter people clambering over the wall and destroying the plants  The prickly berberis, mahonia and pyracantha will also help I hope!


From the many comments I receive from passers by in the car park whilst I am working, it certainly seems to be making a difference and I have received many a ‘thank you’.


In the Autumn I was given a generous donation of some very large pots so I was able to buy a selection of plants to fill them.  These are now on the patio at the top of the entrance steps and help to brighten up the space and have also been the source many comments.


I was also able to make a donation of £50 to the chosen charity at the Harvest Festival, the hospital in India.


The last job I wanted to tackle was to renew the path in the side garden of the Church accessed by the black wrought iron gate at the bottom of Waters Lane.  The garden had previously been cleared and planted by some volunteers from my ‘gang’, but the path was old, uneven and full of weeds.


So I laid a membrane, ordered and arranged delivery on a cold Friday morning in early February,  of 2 tons of Cotswold gravel.  Along with the stoic efforts of James and his wheelbarrow and shovel, and a wheelbarrow and shovel loaned to me by Richard, we moved the gravel from the car park entrance up the hill to the garden.  Amazingly this only took about 2 hours and, after sweeping and tidying up, we enjoyed coffee and cake provided by the ladies in the Friday Country Market.


I think that is about all that has happened in the Church Gardens and Westbury-on-Trym car park during the past year.  It gives me a tremendous sense of pleasure and achievement although, I do find it busy juggling that with my allotment and my own garden and working 3 days every week.


I must give a massive ‘THANK YOU’ to all my helpers, to Westbury-in-Bloom and to the generosity of Church members for buying produce and making donations.


The famous words of Dorothy Gurney say it all for me really:


Hazel Burston


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