A breath of fresh air for community spaces
Sharing Vernon Square’s 25 year celebrations
I have attended some very interesting but very different events recently, all linked to horticulture and the communities that support it.
Firstly, last Saturday, (17 May) it was my great pleasure to attend a reception to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the re-opening of Vernon Square on the Isle of Wight. This stunningly beautiful regency town garden – the only one on the island, as it happens – is cared for by Vernon Square Preservation Society, an organisation set up in the late ‘80s to ensure that this space is maintained as a green oasis of calm for everyone to enjoy.
The commemorative, planned by Preservation Society was attended by Major General MS White, CB, CBE, JP, HM Lord-Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, friends and volunteers as well as a large number of island residents. To mark the occasion, John O’Conner transported a special magnolia tree from the mainland.
It is great to know that this glorious park now has a secure future, having been threatened, among other things, with becoming a carpark. These days, Vernon Square hosts a variety of community events and it continues to be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. The John O’Conner team on the island will certainly continue to support the work of this group.
One reason I always enjoy these types of events is that you get to meet so many different and passionate people. One of these was Mike Fitt OBE, who spoke about his plans for helping Ventnor Botanic Gardens showcase their work around the island. Ventnor Botanic is now a community interest company, so shouting about the good work that happens there is very important. Key to attracting visitors is to make sure that all visitors to the island actually know the Botanic Gardens are there. Anyhow, the plans sound ambitious and exciting too. Hopefully the John O’Conner team will be able to assist with these.
Community effort beautifies burial ground
Well, it certainly must be the season for re-openings. Over the past 12 months, the JOC team in East Herts has been working to improve the site of the Quaker Burial Ground in Ware, in partnership with the Council, The Ware Society, The Society of Friends (Quakers), Ware Town Council and Ware in Bloom.
Over the past 12 months we have assisted in a landscape makeover, removing self-set trees and carrying out new, sympathetic planting.
The new design is now more formal and recognises the position of the old graves, forming a pleasant area to sit, relax and enjoy the surroundings. Thanks to the gardeners and maintenance teams this is now a special place for people to enjoy. The re-opening of the Quaker Burial Ground will provide a simple and long lasting memorial that reflects the Quakers’ own traditions and beliefs.
It is very rewarding to have been involved in such a worthwhile project.