Garden News - Petersfield Physic Garden

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Garden News

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. Petersfield tree surgeons MSP Tree Care did a very good job.
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.
Repainting of the Weathervane
During maintenaince of the guttering volunteer gardener, Paul Barton, saw an opportunity to have the rusting weather vane taken down from the Exhibition Hall roof. He was then able to apply remedial treatment, first removing the rust and then repainting the instrument in black and gold.
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
Installation of the new seat - Careful chaps!
Anna Griffiths' original seat
The new seat in place
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.
Garden invaded by Rabbits ......
but fortunately not the fluffy variety! The most welcome visitors were in fact the Rabbits class from Petersfield Infant School. They enjoyed looking and learning about the different plants and trees and are seen here drawing their favourites.It was a beautiful sunny morning which made for a lovely visit.

Young Visitors
Sunny April days have encouraged visitors to the Garden. Many have enjoyed the warmth and been able to meet friends and sit and chat. Here two mothers have brought their small children to enjoy the experience. Not all of them approve of the idea though!
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  
Isabella and her husband Fred who are responsible for the historic vegetable patch are now beginning to see the results of their hard work. They are both interested in researching historical plants and vegetables. Here Isabella is tending the emerging radish seedlings which she has recently sown, whilst in the background are the custard squash plant bearing fruit and a very luxuriant example of Good King Henry (Blitum bonus-henricus) the dual purpose vegetable which can be treated like asparagus in spring and in the autumn like spinach. Although Isabella works in the Physic Garden as a volunteer she is a professional gardener with a wide range of expertise developed as a result of her Dutch upbringing and love of plants as a child. She has an interesting website at which gives more details of her work.
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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