Wild plants, wild pollinators, wild people!
Named by the Telegraph as one of the top 10 bee gardens to visit in the UK.
The Secret Garden Salisbury is a unique church yard community garden project, with a wildlife, history, arts & education twist. We are based in the old St Clements church yard in the heart of the city of Salisbury and have been running since summer 2015. Our main aim is to bring the magic & restorative power of nature to the community through gentle gardening, encouraging wildlife, education and history and through an authentic desire to lay good community foundations and forge community links from the ground up. Ever resourceful and creative; we offer activities in the garden ranging from planting for pollinators, history talks and arty workshops, to story telling for kids. The church yard is a perfect spot for re-creating something of the wonder captured in The Secret Garden story itself, and this is our main goal.
In 2017 we launched a City Wide initiative 'Bee City' based around our particular interest in pollinators, and grounded very much in scientific resources of the highest quality, much of this emanating from my friendship with wild bee specialist and entomologist Stuart Roberts. While planting the space for pollinators goes at a slow steady pace as we remove ground elder and replace with historical garden or wild species, we wasted no time kicking off our educational element by launching with a talk about wild bees during Salisbury International Arts Festival 2017. We then followed that with the launch of our innovative AR city wide Bee Trail. Within 4 months of launching we were delighted to be presented with a 2017 'Bees Needs Champion' award from Defra at Kew Gardens. Read about that here. We are now proud to announce a second award with Wiltshire Life awards in March 2018, and many more outreach achievements in the 'Bee City' project since. Please see our gallery for pictures.
Thank you also, to 'Plantlife' CEO Marian Spain for your support for our project. Do come in to the garden to see how we will partner up with this wonderful wildflower charity in 2019.
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''To stand among, observe and interact with living things that grow, develop, adapt, compromise and tolerate, is to learn those lessons ourselves.
These skills, often developed in quiet outdoor time as children, when we watch 'life' happening, uncontrolled, wild and sometimes brutal, often captivating and magical; are at the centre of what it is to be human. Without those things how do we reason the fundamental issues in our lives? As a child, outdoor exploration creates that little light we search for to clear away the fog at times when we need it, and helps develop a real centre of happiness, from which we can draw on through life. As adults we need to keep in contact with that innocence and willingness to just observe, so I have created this garden to offer that space and time to adults and children alike. It is a garden to decompress, to find peace and to re-connect with ourselves.
It is my hope the garden will grow with the people that tend it, and will be very much a community effort. I am a real advocate of social inclusion, sharing of ideas, working with local business, investing in community, understanding of different backgrounds and values, and our growing team already reflect that. Our success is modelled on the success of the natural world with one element supporting another to create a wonderful seamless patchwork. Our soft steps into the world of 'not for profit' may leave more conventional thinkers unaware of how much impact we make, but look a bit closer at the many trusted alliances we have made from new connections to old partnerships. We are a city project with a true 'feel good factor', we do not do marketing stunts but inspire people through genuine passion for the natural world and invite people to share that interest; because looking after nature involves us all being informed and pro-active! The Secret Garden Salisbury really focuses on being a gateway to learning about and protecting nature, through various events and workshops that focus on giving the tools and insights to increase feet on the ground. One single wild flower meadow or bee garden is great, but what if people had the knowledge and confidence to understand how bee species choose specific plants or interact with different habitats? Now we can make an impact! This is central to our ethos.
In short - we foster understanding of the natural world and its important connections, and therefore a passion to protect it.
A special thanks goes to the amazing band of volunteers in our garden team, who not only enjoy being there, but have invested time, energy and love, I can't thank you enough.''
As a C.I.C our objectives are to carry on activities that benefit the community, in particular - Environmental education. Protection of British Flora & fauna. Health & well being. Engagement & participation. Sustainable gardening & habitat management. Garden related arts and crafts. Historical & archaeological investigation. Historical preservation. Encourage & provide advice, support and resources to similar projects in the UK.
Read about some of our memorable moments on a facebook post, click here.
Rebecca Twigg – Founder/ Director. Projects, garden & team development, outreach, fundraising & chief wheelbarrow pusher.
Paul Howland - Treasurer
Daniel Kronenberg - Swift Project
Steve Webster - History and Archaeology
Hilda Phillips - Compost & Soil
Spencer Mulholland - Photography
Thanks to Moura MacDonagh for assistance with meetings
Volunteer Team - Events asssitance, gardening & wildlife recording