Our front orchard and meadow

Sandham Memorial Chapel front meadow

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 the mid 1920’s.

Our apples trees include Newton Wonder a cooking variety believed to originate in Derbyshire in 1887, Lane's Prince Albert again a cooker and eater first introduced 1841, Winter Banana an eater, Ellison's Orange, another eater first introduced in 1904, Bramley's Seedling, a cooker first introduced in 1809, Charles Ross an eater and cooker raised by Charles Ross at Welford Park just down the road from us in around 1890 and American Beauty, an eater originating Massachusetts in 1854.

Ripening apples in our orchard
Sandham orchard apple close up

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 planted October 2015.

As you enter the garden from the road there is a magnificent oak. This together with the stump next to it was 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 Carnarvon 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.

In the spring the grass meadow begins to grow in readiness for the profusion of wildflowers including orchids, yellow rattle, knapweed, poppy, and oxeye daisies and remains until we mow to regenerate the meadow in late summer.

The autumn brings the ripening of apples, cyclamen poking their heads up through the grass and also a profusion of fungi.  We have an excellent variety including wax caps and sometimes arrange a fungi foray – so look out for future events.

Fungi in front meadow
Sandham fungi

Before leaving the front garden don’t miss the four box bushes at the top of the steps which were originally planted in 1928 but sadly died and were replaced later.  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, the original alms-houses. In spring you will now see one or two daffodils poking their heads through the lavender together with snowdrops too. When in flower the lavender host many bees, butterflies and other insects and once flowered are often harvested for lavender bags.

Lavender outside almshouse with bee
Sandham frotn garden lavender with bee