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Denzell Gardens and The Devisdale are open and
free to enter from
dawn until dusk

Background

Denzell Gardens and The Devisdale sadly fell into neglect between 1980 and the late 1990s. It wasn't until the formation of the Friends' Group work began to restore Denzell Gardens and The Devisdale to their former glory.

The work still continues today and below are some of the current projects the Committee is currently involved in bringing to fruition.

The Lych Gate Restoration

The word 'Lych' survived into modern English from the Old English or Saxon word for corpse. In the Middle Ages when most people were buried in just shrouds rather than coffins, the dead were carried to the Lych gate and placed on a bier, where the priest conducted the first part of the funeral service under its temporary shelter.

 
The Lych Gate was in desperate need of funding in order to restore it to its former glory
 
The distinctive black and white Lych Gate at the entrance to Denzell Gardens from Green Walk, Bowdon, has been a target for vandals in the past, and we finally raised enough funding to restore the broken door and bench, and refurbish the rest, though work is still needed on the roof. The doors are always open and lead in to the Bowling Green, the Sunken Garden, and Denzell House.
 
The Sunken Garden

Initiated by committee members, the new garden was funded by an 'Awards for All' Lottery Fund Grant, with similar funding from Friends of Denzell and The Devisdale's own funds. The task that lay ahead was daunting to say the least and the brief complex.

In the summer of 2009, the garden was officially opened by celebrity weatherman Fred Talbot following years of hard work and toil led by committee members and garden designers Chris Baker and Shirley Fidler. And, in its second year, the Sunken Garden was awarded 'Outstanding, level 5' in the RHS 'North-West in Bloom'.

The garden design is elegant and vibrant and boasts a wonderful collection of native and uncommon plant species that offer year round interest. Shirley Fidler, Chris Banker and a band of volunteers continue to ensure the garden is kept in pristine condition.

 
The Sunken Garden Before
The garden was overpowered by several large conifers which restricted sunlight creating an oppressively gloomy atmosphere
The Sunken Garden After
The Sunken Garden has been transformed from a building site to one that offers a wonderful array of flora and foliage in a peaceful and tranquil setting

The Wildlife Pond

The pond was created in early 2008 and its 'community' continues to settle down and mature. As mud builds up in the shallows at the back, emergent plants like Flag Iris and Water Plantain will become stronger.

Fred Ives, former Head Gardener of Denzell Gardens, is the only person lucky enough to have spotted a Great Crested Newt basking in the sunshine at the edge of the pond during the summer of 2009.

 
The Wildlife Pond was designed specifically to encourage creatures such as the Common Newt
who is now seen frequently at the site
during the warmer months
 
The main concerns around the pond are to control the Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam as these tend to take over which, in turn, means the biological diversity will ultimately be affected.
 

Interpretation Board

An interpretation board, funded by proceeds from the Friends was recently installed to help with plant identification and custom-designed handrails, funds for which were provided by Community Foundation have recently been added to assist in the descent to the garden. More seating is needed for those who are unable to negotiate the steps and so the work continues.

The Peace Garden

The Peace Garden sits between Denzell Gardens and The Devisdale, next to The Woodland Garden.

A Snowdrop colony was planted in March 2010. Interestingly, everyone regards the Snowdrop as a native plant but this emblematic flower's native home is actually the mountains of central and southern Europe. Its delicate display of hardy beauty signifying to many the first signs of spring secured its appeal and its ultimate transportation to our shores several hundred years ago.

Further planting to complement the current backdrop of trees and bulbs has taken place on several occasions since; school children helped to plant thousands more Snowdrops, also Aconites, Narcissi and Cyclamen. The objective behind the scheme is to further encourage wildlife to the area and to offer an open space to the public where time can be spent enjoying a variety of plant species such as native Bluebells, Snakes Head Fritillaries, Daffodils and flowering trees.

 
The Snowdrop
The wee white flo'er
pushes through deep broon erth,
it fills me wi' gladness
the sight o' this birth.
It struggles so hard
agin the sleet and the snaw
but noo sae bonnie, sae braw
This herald o' Spring

Penni Currie
The Boundary Walls

The restoration of the boundary wall in the northeast corner of Denzell Gardens is the latest project to be undertaken by the Committee. Chairman John Lloyd and committee member Mike Sanderson will be working together in the upcoming months to identify other parts of the boundary wall which also need attention.
 
Neglect over the years to the boundary walls means restoration is now imperative
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