The Guernsey Botanical Trust was formed in 2006 for the express purpose of restoring Saumarez Park’s Victorian walled garden as a charitable and voluntary project.
The garden had been part of the de Saumarez family’s private estate, which was acquired by the States of Guernsey following the death of the fourth Lord de Saumarez in 1937. While the park itself has been substantially used for public purposes, the walled garden fell into a state of disuse and disrepair over the years.
The Trustees of the Guernsey Botanical Trust are Raymond Evison, who was and is the prime mover in the walled garden restoration project, Roger Weston, Peter Warry, Claire Le Pelley, Michael Eades and Mike de Carteret.
The Trust’s patrons are His Excellency The Lieutenant Governor, The Bailiff of Guernsey and Lord Eric de Saumarez.
Since 2006 the substantial amount of site clearance which has been needed has been largely carried out by our band of willing volunteers, and a six-bed vegetable layout, plus soft fruit and coarse vegetable areas have been developed.
Every year since 2008, produce from the garden has gained several first prizes in the Northern Agricultural & Horticultural Society’s annual show held in Saumarez Park.
A replica of the original greenhouse, the Lemon House was rebuilt in 2010 and the Orchard House was rebuilt in 2012 there are current plans to rebuild a replica of the remaining original greenhouse (the Vine House), and to create ‘The Gatehouse’ at the main garden entrance, to include an interpretation centre providing information for visitors, with a shop, office, staff room etc.
When completed it is intended that the garden will be used for:-
Cultivation of fruit, vegetables, flowers and house plants appropriate to the period.
Display of tools and artefacts to demonstrate cultivation methods of the period.
The display of interpretation boards depicting the reinstatement of the garden and its buildings, the history of the de Saumarez family and the association with James de Saumarez and the history of the Park.
A meeting room, practical experience and education centre for horticultural studies at all levels.
A social centre for people seeking opportunities to work in a garden but without the responsibility of ownership.
A place of interest for islanders and visitors, in association with our neighbours, the National Trust of Guernsey, Saumarez Park Tea Rooms, and St. John’s Residential Home.
The use of voluntary labour means the restoration is necessarily a long term project. They are always pleased to see additional volunteers to help with the gardening. Most volunteer gardeners attend on Saturday mornings and/or Wednesday afternoons. If you feel like becoming involved, your commitment can be as little or as great as you wish on these two days, from half an hour’s occasional hoeing, to a regular attendance. Just turn up on the day, or contact Ivan Le Tissier for further information.