Garden News - Petersfield Physic Garden

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Even more Aspire Pharma Volunteers
The Garden has once again benefitted from the help of some more Aspire volunteers, Lindsey, Jonathon and Mandy. All were happy to escape from the office into warm sunshine. They were kept busy with their secateurs leaving the West wall looking a great deal tidier as can be seen from the picture of the Damask Rose in the right handside photo.
Summer Tasks
Meadow grass in the orchard has now been cut and left on the ground to dry. Cutting this year was later than usual to give the Yellow Rattle time to ripen along with the other wild flowers which have established themselves under the trees. Once the hay has dried it is collected.
Before and after treatment pictures are shown on the left and right!
John - head gardener - aided by Philip laying the foundations
Aspire Pharma volunteers
Once agan volunteers from Aspire Pharma have come to our rescue under the company's two day a year allowance for community work. Here Lewis and Atomre are shown both hard at work in the iris bed leaving it very neat and spruce. Fortuneately the rain held off and they were able to return to work in the dry  We do very much appreciate all their help.
New Water Feature
The new water feature was installed in the Garden against the wall of the exhibition hall in the topiary walk.
This was purchased with a £1000 donation made by the Petersfield branch of Waitrose. Chairs placed either side of the fountain give visitors the opportunity to sit and enjoy the gentle flow of water as it splashes from the lion's mouth onto the pebbles in the basin below.
New water feature not only in place but also in action
Box Tree Moth Caterpillar Pests
Expert Advice
Box Tree Moths have become prevalent in Petersfield and their voracious caterpillars have been responsible for the defoliation and subsequent death of many of the local plants. In spite of a particularly bad year for the pests the plants in the Garden, as the photograph shows, have so far survived. When the caterpillars first appeared John, Head Gardener used a biological spray which was absorbed by the plants' leaves these are then then eaten by  the pests which poisons them. Box Plants were also fed to encourage strong healthy growth. One Pheromone trap hung in the garden indicates the presence of moths.
On a perfect winter's day the volunteer gardeners were invited to join a talk and demonstration from expert pruner Roger Grange.On this occassion his main concern was apple trees and in the first part Roger talked about the importance of pruning and what the aims of doing so were.He used small samples of trees to demonstrate this showing what could be achieved.The second half of his talk moved into the orchard where he showed the various tools required for the job.  Roger then moved on to show how pruning was really done choosing the Garden's two quince trees for their annual treatment.
Gazebo Repairs

The oak stretcher in the Garden's iconic gazebo comemorating volunteer gardener Mike Firth has had a makeover. It was removed by Robin Hart and taken to his workshop. Here it was skillfully cleaned, repaired and the carved inscription refreshed. It is now back fully refurbished at top of the gazebo gracing its rightful place.

A Couple of Stalwarts

These two garden loving ladies were not going to let a bit of damp deter them from a promised lunch in the Physic Garden.

Here they are sheltering under large umbrellas in a heavy downpour enjoying their sandwiches and the peaceful surroundings..
Approach of Autumn

The colours of autumn are becoming apparent in the Garden and to celebrate these Pauline Elkins has used her many coloured pencils to illustrate the fruits of Iris foetidissima - the stinking iris.
She has also been busy drawing a series of delightful flower pictures which will shortly be published as greetings cards and sold to benefit the Garden
Volunteers' Coffee Morning
Volunteers were invited to a social get together before starting back to work in 2023. They gathered in the exhibition hall for a coffee morning hosted by Paddy and Philip Dawson. There was plenty of good coffee flowing, indulgent cakes and lots of convivial chat.
Gardener's Portraits displayed
A portrait of two of our volunteer gardeners, Paul and Dot, was painted by Benji as part of Dunhurst School's Christmas Exhibition. For this all the students painted local familiar people which were collected together as the 'Faces of Petersfield'. The exhibition was heldat Petersfield Railway Station in the Campachoochoo Coffee Shop.,
New Signage
In order to gently dissuade visitors to attempt to enter or leave the Garden by the Badham Gate entrance new signs have been installed. These have been custom made using wood  recovered from the old seat in the North corner of the Garden which has recently been replaced.
Recycling at its best!

News from Hampshire Gardens Trust

The Spring Newsletter's front cover has a very leafy summertime picture of Jenny Hill  making her way down the Garden under the rose arch.
Thanks to her efforts the Trust has appreciated the value of our Physic Garden. As a result it has been nominated by Sally Miller of the HampshireTrust as the "Unforgettable Garden of the Month" to the charity the Gardens Trust and they have published the story on line. The text, provided by Jenny, is genorously illustrated with photos by Brian Robinson.
To see the article in full please click on the link provided

Tree Pruning
Wintertime provided the ideal opportunity to cut back trees and bushes which were overhanging the Garden. Branches were removed from the tall sycamore trees overhanging the West wall and garden benches - a favourite perch for pigeons. Branches were also taken from the bay tree in the Northeast corner. These were casting a heavy shadow over the pergola and newly replaced seat. Pictures show the pile of offending bay and its former location.
Official Opening of New Gates
In the left hand side picture Nicole is seen standing beside the plaque commenerating the new gates to the memory of her father Tony Smee. Tony was the much loved chairman of the Garden for many years. He died in July 2016. Pauline Mathews on the righthand picture has been associated with the Garden since its reception recounted happy memories of Tony.
Here pictures show the weathervane from the East and West sides of the building with the sunshine catching the gold lettering and sparkling on the pointer bird. As is typical of such instruments the vane is mounted on the highest point of the building and whilst being functional  is used as an architectural ornament. The word vane comes from the old English word fana, meaning flag.
The New Seat Arrives
The new seat in place
Installation of the new seat - Careful chaps!
Anna Griffiths' original seat
The angle created by the meeting of the ancient North and East walls of the Garden has always made an ideal niche for a corner seat. Initially this was provided by a Bedales student, Anna Griffiths as an A level project and shortly afterwards the seat was enclosed in an arbour. Sadly time and weather took its toll and Anna's seat had to be replaced with one that copied a similar pattern. This in turn suffered the same fate and was deemed beyond repair and for safety's sake had to be removed.
Now the empty space has been filled with a beautiful new seat which provides a focal point at the end of the long gravel path as people enter the Garden. It is made in iroko wood by Designer Woodwork Limited of Alton and is housed in a recently streghtened arbour. Here we hope it will provide many years of pleasure to our visitors both aesthetically and as a comfortable shady spot to enjoy the Garden.
Installation of new office doors
The Physic Garden office now has a fresh look with the recent installation of a pair of double glazed doors. These will bring more light into the office as well as improving security whilst giving the wardens a better view of visitors coming into the Garden.

The left hand picture shows the two doors, one giving a view of the inside of the office , the other reflecting a view of the Garden.
In the right hand picture Chairman, Lewis Kent and Secretary, Joan Shepley are showing the smart new entrance to a Garden visitor.
New Front Gates
With the lifting of Covid restrictions the Garden will be opening new gates to wecome its visitors. The new gates which are made of European Oak (English Oak being unobtainable) are replacing the old soft wood ones which were beginning to show their age. The cost of the gates was funded by a legacy left to the Garden. Pictures show front and rear view of the new gates.
The Veg Patch  
New Notice

The Garden is open to the public once more after the long months of lockdown and to celebrate the North wall of the Garden now has a new notice. Made of slate it matches the ones affixed to the pillars on the High Street entrance to the Garden. It will leave no doubt as to what lies behind the ancient walls and the oak gate. Previously people had had to peer through the grill to find out!
Entry to the Garden by this route however is restricted for security reasons but if closed entry can be gained through the main gate on the High Street opposite Marks and Spencer.
Hellebore Drawing

Sometimes in dull moments when there are no visitors the garden stewards find that time can go slowly.

Not so for Pauline Elkins. In spare moments she applies her drawing talents to committing plants and flowers from the Garden to paper. She usually has her sketch pad and pencil to hand and is always eager to record a huge variety of interesting subjects.

Pauline's skills are demonstrated in the charming picture of the Hellebore which she created using a large number of coloured pencils.

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