Copyright © ‘Tetbury in Bloom’ 2009-2020
The Anniversary Garden in Summer 2008
The Anniversary Garden Project:
The Anniversary Garden is a small green open space situated in Eccles Court which runs between The Ferns and The Chipping. It was originally part of the grounds of Sir William Romney’s school, Long Street which is now the present day doctor’s surgery.
In 1977, after the school grounds had been sold to developers for housing, this small area was developed into a garden by Brigadier Meyrick Nielsen, the founder of the original ‘Tetbury in Bloom’ to commemorate The Queen’s Silver Jubilee.
Over the years, the garden became sad and uncared for so in 2007, to commemorate its 30th anniversary and to mark the 80th birthday of HM The Queen, The Civic Society decided to fund its make over.
In 2007, Eric Simpson, member of both Tetbury in Bloom and the Civic Society took it upon himself to redesign and almost single handedly do the work.
Keeping much of the original design features he set about transforming it into a sensory garden.
He built a new rose arbour, dug new beds and planted over 50 new rose bushes chosen for their fragrance together with many perennial plants.
The old broken paving and walls were taken away and the bare area returfed . The neglected 7’ high, overgrown rosa regosa bushes that formed a visual barrier between the path and the garden were given a severe pruning that kick started them back into life with luscious new growth.
In Autumn several hundred bulbs were planted and the whole project was deemed a great success.
The gardens now look as though someone has ‘switched the lights back on’, it is well cared for and totally rejuvenated!
The ‘before’ picture showing a very tired & sad looking area.
This picture shows the work had already been started by cutting down
the old 7’ high rosa regosa bushes which formed a hedge alongside the tarmac path
The rose arbour is constructed to ultimately form a new entrance to the garden
and new beds are cut along the paved path and at the base of the far wall
More new beds are dug alongside the rose arbour and, about 6 months after starting,
stage one of the ‘makeover’ is completed.
The front of the picture on the right shows the old rosa regosa bushes
which were cut back almost to ground level, now full of new growth and flowering freely.
One year on in 2008, everything was doing well and in Spring 2009 we added to it with more perennials in the beds. Since that time, like all gardens, things have moved on.
A second bench was installed and in 2012, we gave the formal beds a bit of a makeover.
In 2013 the lavenders were removed as they'd become far too leggy and were replaced with hardy fuchsias which complimented the white Japanese anemones and the red leaved heucheras. In the rosa regosa bed, snowdrops and were planted amongst the veronica border together with 750 Tete a Tete bulbs going through the centre. The results in Spring 2014 were stunning and made a very welcome splash of early colour to what had been a very wet and gloomy winter.
Like all gardens, they constantly evolve. The formal beds now have slightly different look. Instead of the veronica border in the rosa regosa bed, we’ve now changed that to lavender ‘Hidcote’, which can withstand more pruning than a lot of other varieties, thus keeping it much bushier and less straggly. The bed leading from the pergola has now been planted with 4 large Box balls, interspersed with hardy fuchsias, euonymus and heuchera.
The ‘new look’ formal bed now planted with box balls, Autumn 2018
In 2018 a third bench was also installed and the town council granted funding for the old broken side path to be relayed. We also installed metal edging along each of the beds so that the grass edges can be kept looking much crisper and tidier.
The garden now with three benches allowing more people to sit and enjoy this lovely space.
Throughout 2019, and despite the Covid-19 restriction imposed on us during 2020, work continued in the garden. The roses over the pergola which had been left to grow almost unhindered since 2007, were cut right back in autumn 2019 allowing them to successfully regenerate and cover the pergola afresh. Two large choisyas that had outgrown their space in the right hand walled bed, were also removed and replaced with two hydrangeas which will bring more colour to the bed in the summer months.
In autumn 2020, the central Rowan tree was deemed to be in poor health so we chose to replace it with an Amelanchier ‘Canadensis’ tree which should only grow to about 4 metres high. It will give an attractive display of copper coloured foliage and white flowers in the spring, followed by dark berries in the autumn.
The Amelanchier ‘Canadensis’ tree, Spring 2021
In December 2020, we decided it was time to look at improving the planting in the raised bed on the left-hand side of the garden and in the walled bed opposite. So a mini makeover in time to commemorate HM The Queen’s Plantinum Jubilee in 2022, was underway! We started by reducing the size of the perennial plants and taking out larger plants that had seen better days or had grown too big for their locations.
Just before Christmas the local company ‘Wildlife World Ltd’ donated to us several hundred tulip and narcissi bulbs. Having recently dug over the beds and with the aim to improve the seasonal planting schemes, Anniversary Gardens was the ideal location to plant them all! So a hurried planting operation was undertaken to get them all in in time to come up in the spring.
Spring 2021, the daffodil and tulip bulbs kindly donated by ‘Wildlife World Ltd’