Gardens at Sandham Memorial Chapel
Following the Sandham 2014 Project a new garden of reflection was created at the rear of the chapel, an area never previously open to visitors.
The orchard at the front of the Chapel the lime trees lining the drive and native hedging around the entire garden date back to the inception of the site around 1926.
A number of these trees are now reaching the end of their lives so we have been working with the Trust’s Plant Conservation Programme who are grafting cuttings from our existing trees to make new ones. The first three of these were October 2015.
As you enter the garden from the road there is a magnificent oak. This together with the stump next to it were presented by the Salonika Association in 1960 and there is a plaque commemorating this on the bench surrounding the remaining tree. This whole area is very shady and cool place to sit and reflect on a warm summer’s day.
The native hedging encompassing the garden, the plants originally having been sourced from the Carnavon Estate ( now better known as Highclere Castle courtesy of Downton Abbey fame) includes hawthorn, berberis, dog rose and holly and provides year round colour with flowers, berries and autumnal foliage.
Before leaving the front garden don’t miss the four box bushes at the top of the steps. As you move away from the semi-circular brick area in front of the chapel you will come across the vibrant and fragrant Hidcote Lavender in front on each of the cottages.
As part of the Sandham 2014 Project it was felt that the original gardens tended by the occupants of the former alms houses which would have had flower borders and vegetable plots should now form a part of the visit to Sandham and reflect the anniversary years.
Part of money received from the Heritage Lottery Fund was destined for the creation and use of this space and after consultation with various stakeholders Daniel Lobb Hampshire landscape and garden designer was appointed to work with various voluntary groups to create a garden of reflection.
Following ground works being completed by an external contractor over 60 volunteers including our own here at Sandham, servicemen and women from Tedworth House (a recovery centre run by Help for Heroes), students from Sparsholt College, people from homeless charity St Mungo’s and members of Thrive spent some eight months the equivalent of over 320 days’ work to complete this new and very special place.
At the time of the garden’s creation Daniel Lobb said of it :
‘It was really important to me to quietly absorb the special atmosphere of the place and create a design that sits harmoniously next to the historic chapel, existing meadow and orchard’ said Daniel, whose simple design for the garden was inspired by the formality of the chapel building. I hope it will provide both the opportunity for quiet reflection and an active gardening space for the various partner charity groups and volunteer gardeners which have helped bring my design to life’
Now nearing its second year, the garden is beginning to look established. The newly planted native hedging provides a natural frame around the garden as the old ones do around the perimeter of the front and are starting to take hold and delineate the area.
We have polytunnel where we are starting to grow plants of our own, from cuttings or seeds and which will be used to re stock the garden and made available to buy too.
The gardens are maintained by a regular group of volunteers normally on our closed days so we do not disturb the peace and tranquillity of this unique place for visitors.