Update on the Church Gardens March 2016

Having looked on the Church website, I discovered that the last time I created an update on the Church garden was October 2011!   How time flies and how busy!

So I thought I would sit down and try to remember some of the things which have happened during that 4 and a bit years.

The first thing which comes to mind is the success in the Bristol in Bloom ‘Commumity Participation Garden’ awards in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, each year achieving  a Gold Award and, much to myamazement, it includes Westbury car park.  All the awards are on show in the foyer of the Church.

In the last update I was just about to clear the area in the top corner of Westbury car park. This turned out to be a mammoth task as the area had, obviously, been used as a rubbish dump and the cottage gate had disappeared in the undergrowth.  I ended up filling 18 sacks to go to the tip.  However, the cottage now has a rear access and cottage style planting. I have added a variety of new plants in both the long beds in the Westbury car park over the years and, I think, last year was the best year yet.  However, I intend to change a few things this year with the addition of more penstomen, a lovely plant flowering from May – November, and a reduction of the euphorbia, which can tend to take over. The backdrop of a variety of hardy geraniums in a number of colours is always pleasing.

The addition of the two geums, Totally Tangerine, were added courtesy of Alan who lives opposite the car park, in remembrance of his wife, Marilyn, who sadly died of cancer but, he told me, that she loved watching the progress of planting and how the garden grew from the window. I also acquired from members of the public who offered them, all the rocks which edge the main long bed. This helps to hold back the soil on the slanting bed and is much more pleasant for the eye.

I have also taken over the maintenance of the two small beds in Westbury car park but, they give me some problems in that, the one with the silver birch is always very dry due to the root system and in the other is continually walked on by members of the car park as it is next to a car parking space.

I have changed the planting in the Church car park over the years and added spring bulbs and hardy geraniums as well as adding a different selection of plants on a regular basis to the pots. The mass of leaves dropping from the split beech tree always provide me with a regular supply for my leaf mold bin on my allotment which then provides me with leaf mulch.

The vegetable garden at the rear of the Church continues to provide a range of vegetables for sale after Sunday Church.  Last year I created a bee and butterfly friendly patch which was very successful. The tall persicara at the back was stunning against a bright blue sky, the naturally seeded foxgloves (my favourite of all plants), verbena bonariensis, salvia, rudbeckia and African basil all helped to bring the bees and butterflies into the garden.

I also made some addidtions to the long perennial bed including hardy geraniums, cyclamen hederifolium, epimedium, penstomen, Japanese anemone, erysimum and a couple of grasses.  

Due to a really hot summer a couple of years ago when I needed to water the longar park bed, I bought another water butt which Bob Wrench kindly installed for me.  It is situated at the rear corner of the Church outside the back gate and enables me to use a free supply of water.

I also bought a new wall mounted cigarette bin as the previous one had rusted really badlyand I was unable to open it to empty.

Another purchase was a sign for the Church wall on the Westbury car park side.  I was always disappointed that there was no recognition of the input of the congregation into the upkeep of the car park beds, both with generous donations of money and plants. So, I hope the wording of the sign makes it clear to anyone who may see it, that the efforts made to create and maintain the gardens are for everyone to enjoy. I certainly receive many compliments and words of thanks from the public whilst I am working there,which makes all the hard work very worthwhile.

So, a new growing year is nearly upon us!  Another year of adding a few new plants,changing a few and continuing to maintain all the beds to be at their best for everyone to enjoy.

I will make an extra effort to make an update on what I have been up to at least once every year from now on!














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