Heysham WI members transform adopted garden for Britain in Bloom and beyond

Members of Heysham WI have transformed a piece of garden in the village.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Friday, 15th July 2022, 11:02 am

The members were keen to adopt a piece of garden in the village for the Britain in Bloom competition and beyond, and have now transformed an area at the bottom of St Mary’s Road, a stretch of garden which until three years ago had been looked after for 20 years by a neighbour.

However, when he became ill and unable to continue it became overgrown and so Heysham WI members set to, clearing, weeding, and generally tidying up the land.

Members were given seeds to grow sunflowers as part of the WI’s initiative to grow sunflowers this summer in a show of support for Ukraine, while many members also grew other plants.

Hard at work in the garden.

Three months later it is now a thriving garden appreciated by many of the residents of the road who frequently comment on the difference it has made.

The WI were very grateful for the support of the neighbour, as well as Heysham Neighbourhood Council for funding the plants and Pearson’s Garden Centre for a generous discount.

The WI kept existing plants where possible, including myrtle, viburnum, aucuba, hydrangea, lonicera, twisted corylus and some shrubs.

Roses and an azalea planted by village residents for sentimental reasons were also kept, along with some perennials such as geraniums and an assortment of spring flowering bulbs.

Working in the adopted garden.

The idea on the left-hand side of the bed was to create an edible garden for the villagers to use.

This has been edged with lavender and rosemary in a nod to traditional knot gardens. This area also enclosed the herb garden comprising a mixture of chives, parsley, sage, lemon balm and a selection of other edible plants grown by WI members such as tomatoes and strawberries.

They also planted sweet peas on cane wigwams to add fragrance and height to the back of the bed.

This whole area will provide year-round interest and a resource for the whole village.

The middle section is being given over to herbaceous perennial plants which will provide year-round interest.

The Eryngium (Sea Holly) is a nod to the seaside location, a plant of coastal environments, as is Cistus (Rock Rose), a plant typical of coastal environments.

Scabious is a plant found in a meadow environment and its blue flowers fitted in well with the red, white and blue colour scheme for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

All the perennials were chosen to give long lasting interest and flowering as well as drought resistance.

Other plants were Erigeron, Geum and Rudbeckia, all chosen for their long flowering seasons. African and French Marigolds in the trough represented the crown. On the right of the bed were existing perennial ground cover Pachysandra and Sedum. The traditional bedding scheme spelt out WI in Blue Bush Lobelia, surrounded by red and white Begonia Sempeflorens, another nod to the traditional seaside heritage where the council used to have flamboyant carpet bedding along the seafront.

Thought has also gone into planting perennial herbaceous plants that will attract pollinating insects, and insect ‘hotels’ including the ‘Wiggle Inn Air B&B’ have been added along the back wall to provide a habitat for them.