Coronation Garden

Coronation Garden

In January 2023, if you walked east along the High Street or down the alleyway through Home Close, at the junction with the main road you would be struck by a kind of wild neglect; old pear trees covered with ivy, a nib of the old stone garden wall fallen and crumbled, the bent road sign, plastic bags fluttering and rustling in dead overhanging branches. Three months later and you could see significant changes; the dark and dangerously forking conifer had gone, the pear had been trimmed back, the brambles removed, the whole area cleared and the white pear blossom was out.

The Parish Council adopted this area to make it into a Coronation Garden; above all, to make it an accessible spot to enjoy, a pleasant place to sit and to experience nature, not in a manicured way, but more in line with King Charles’ philosophy to encourage biodiversity. In consultation with Cherwell’s tree officer and with a plan drawn up by Wild Oxfordshire the Parish outdoor team cleared and landscaped. The landscape plan provides for three areas, a shady woodland, a wild flower lawn and a more formal bed with bee and insect loving shrubs planned for each season, including lavender and rosemary.

By November, a section of walling had been repaired, shrubs and new trees planted. All with the aim of attracting pollinators. So, now there are three rowan trees and a medlar which all give blossom in Spring and berries in Autumn. There are fruit bushes along the wall from which local residents can forage including blackberries and a fig.

Spring 2024, we waited to see what the wild flower lawn would bring and children from North Kidlington School scattered more seeds under the trees and under the wall in the woodland area. We founded a local Coronation Garden Friends’ Whatsapp group to keep an eye on the watering and maintenance needs. They planted a mixed hedge alongside the fence to join up with the pear tree and it’s thanks to them that the weeds in the woodchip bed have been kept under control. The second Saturday of the month is the current pattern for work,

It’s July and the grasses, daisies, cornflowers, campion and poppies are tall. And the whole is in need of a haircut. But meanwhile some new plants have been bedded in, including euphorbia, lavender and dogwood, the Abelia continues to flower beside the arbutus.

We have a lot to learn about wildlife management from our colleagues in Wild Oxfordshire, the bees continue to visit and the berries are beginning to set, and people sit and chat beside all this busy biodiversity.