Sheffield park's 'magical garden' wins a Green Flag 2021 award
One of Sheffield’s best kept secrets, the Victorian Walled Garden in Meersbrook Park, has won a prestigious Green Flag award for the ninth year running, as organisers appeal for more people with DIY skills to get involved.
The walled garden, which has been lovingly restored and maintained by an army of over 40 volunteers for the last 21 years, has come top in the ‘Community’ category for keeping the ornamental leisure garden open to public and maintaining it to a high standard.
The garden is also utilised by Heeley City Farm for growing vegetables and produce, which it then uses in its cafe.
It’s been a labour of love for us all and this is a tribute to all the hard work and dedication everyone has put in, especially during lockdown”, says organiser Kaktus Leach.
“We’ve managed to keep going safely during the pandemic and over the last two months we’ve been re-opening to the public on Sundays and the response has been amazing with between 70-100 visitors coming to see us each week”, adds 79-year-old old Kaktus, whose been volunteering for 21 years there.
The Green Flag Inspectors visited the site in April and in a report to the organisers commended the site’s ‘accessibility, litter and graffiti free environment and noted that there is evidence that the horticultural and recycling practices are good and there was a feeling of security throughout the whole site.’
They also recognised the garden’s links with local schools and the Botanical Gardens with good use of nesting boxes and a large ‘bug hotel’ with birds singing in the background.
“The majority of our volunteers are generalists and we desperately need more people with DIY skills to come and get involved, especially to do the heavy stuff like mowing and hedge cutting”, said Kaktus.
Volunteer Anne Vickers, 65, a retired civil servant from Grenoside, has been a volunteer for three years.
She said: “I don’t drive and the garden is on the main bus routes, so I just come here and lose myself in the beauty of the place for a few hours each week and it makes me feel great”.
Judy Tocher, 66, a retired NHS genetic counsellor from Hunters Bar, said: “I keep active gardening here for a couple of days a week and I’ve made so many new friends and learned a lot about horticulture”.
“It’s great to see so many people coming in now on Sundays.
"We’re thrilled with the Green Flag award. I think we’ll need to celebrate with a glass of something”, adds Judy.
The garden, which also has a small tool museum and a sunken Japanese garden, is open to the public on Sundays from 12.30 - 3.00pm and is managed by the Meersbrook Park Users Trust.
To volunteer in the walled garden contact Kaktus Leach on 07977 463879.