A arden city with a welcome

Welcome to Welwyn Garden City – Newsletter

The welcome signs are up!
The Welcome to WGC team have been celebrating the installation of the new road signs.  We hope that you have had a chance to see them.

We are so pleased that they can be enjoyed by residents from all parts of the town and that visitors will enjoy seeing a snippet of what’s to come if they make their journey into the town centre.

But that’s only half the story!

We want to make the signs look even better with small gardens around each sign.
Gateway Gardens
We have been extremely fortunate in having a garden designer amongst our volunteers.  The aptly named Gary Primrose has created a garden design with lots of messages within it.
Gary’s description of the garden and its symbolism within
Welwyn Garden City  – The design aims to reflect the planting and structure behind the principles of a Garden City, introducing visitors to a taster of what they will expect when they arrive at Parkway, its centre.
Utopia – Utopia was Ebenezer Howard’s vision of how a Garden City should be structured. I’ve taken the posts of our signs as the central hub and placed six Allium ‘Globemasters’ around each to represent his Utopia model.
Infinity – The main structure is an infinity symbol to highlight the centenary milestone we are reaching, but also to show that the garden movement doesn’t end here.
Heritage – A topiary knot has been placed in the centre of the design as a gentle nod to the famous knot garden at Hatfield House.
Two Tone Hedging – With the darker Euonymus ‘Jean Hugues’ at the back and brighter Euonymus ‘Microphyllus Aureas’ visitors will be greeted by a 3 metre ‘W’ for Welwyn Garden City
Gradient – To ensure that the ‘W’ is completely visible from the road the Gateway Garden will be pruned to a gradient  
Environmentally Friendly – Plants have been selected for a number of environmental benefits:

Wildlife – I have chosen plants with wildlife in mind, specifically to attract bees or insects

Seasonality – Seasonal plants not only provide a year round display, but also benefit nature for a wider period

Drought Tolerance – Whilst the plants will require watering in the first season, there is no natural access to water so the plants have been chosen for their drought tolerant capabilities.  This is  surely a consideration in all our gardens with the changing climate.

Box Tree Caterpillar – Buxus Sempervirens is the natural choice for topiary hedging, however with the box tree caterpillar devastating many of our historic hedges I’ve chosen Euonymus as an alternative to demonstrate that similar effects can be achieved.
The Planting Scheme
The most striking feature is the knot garden in the centre.  This is a tribute to the Marquess of Salisbury who is the patron of the Centenary Foundation.  Much of WGC is built on land that once belonged to the Salisbury Estate and if you have visited Hatfied House, you will know that it has a famous knot garden.  Ours is planted with 2 varieties of Euonymus so that the W element stands out.  The hedging will be pruned so that it is higher at the back than the front to make it more visible to oncoming traffic – quite a challenge when you consider the various contours at the sites.

The dogwoods will provide winter colour.
What is happening next?

We have the plants on order from Rochfords nursery at Letty Green and are currently sorting out the payment and delivery arrangements.We have been promised soil conditioner through HCC Highways Department and are awaiting confirmation about its delivery.We have been given access to storage facilities for the plants and conditioner.We have arranged for Health and Safety talks to be given to volunteers by Dan Pearman from HCC HIghways
Tasks for Volunteers
Here are the jobs we see as being needed (at the moment).

On Site

1. Bag up the conditioner.  We will supply rubble bags but if you have any compost bags that you have been keeping for a useful job then here’s one.  I am happy if you want to drop any round ready to be used prior to setting a date for this task.

2. Deliver the conditioner to the sites.

3. Dig the conditioner in.  If anyone has access to a rotovator then that would make the task easier.

4. Lay weed suppressing membrane.  Gary will bring that along, pin it in place and cut the holes for the planting

5. Deliver plants to site.

6. Plant according to planting plan.  Gary will supervise.  Bring your own tools.Water well in. 

7. Water will need to be brought along to the site(s) by volunteers.

8. Apply top layer of conditioner to disguise the weed barrier

Off SIte

Community involvement is very much valued and will help preserve these gardens for many years to come.  It has been suggested to leaflet communities close to the sites to see if a local group of volunteers can be established to care for the gardens.  If you have access to printing facilities perhaps you could design and get some leaflets printed that we can distribute.

1. Wanted, someone who can get about 1500 leaflets designed and printed.

2. People to leaflet an area looking for volunteers.Of course, the leaflets had best be approved by the Gateways Team please 🙂

If you have contacts with groups who want to get involved please guide them towards our team.

Adopt a Garden
Long term care of the gardens is vital to their survival.

If you are considering to adopt a garden we thought it would be useful to outline what we see adoption involving.  There is clearly a commitment that will need to be met.

The garden must be maintained in the style defined. That includes regular weeding if required, watering when required and pruning back as required.

Probably the most important one of those will be the watering in the first year particularly.  The plants may need a good soaking especially if we have a hot dry summer.  Getting enough water to a site is do-able with a bit of planning.  Hang on to those plastic milk, laundry liquid and fabric conditioner bottles as they can hold a fair amount of water and several can be safely carried in a car.

According to some online advice a good watering is between 1″-2″ (2.5-5cm) once a week.  That is a lot of water – between 225 and 450 litres each week so quite a job.  Drinking water quality is not needed so if you can collect rain water in a water butt then it is free.  A typical garden water butt holds about 300 litres so that gives a good estimate of the amount that will be needed.  Of course, in a drought your butt may be empty so alternative measures will need to be put in place.  So called ‘grey water’ from washing machines, baths etc is considered fine for non edible plants therefore will be perfect for this task.

We will be very happy to advise about any aspect of care.

If that seems OK to you then let me know and we can discuss in more detail with our garden designer and any particular issues with a preferred site.

Please let me know if you would like a site and any preference that you may have for a particular location.
Just click the ‘Get in touch’ link and tell us your thoughts

Get in touch with Alan and the Team

Please feel free to share this with anyone who might also be interested.  We will be pleased to hear from as many people as possible.  Definitely a case of many hands making the work lighter.Thank you for your interest in this project.

If you have any further questions then please get in touch and I’ll do my best to answer them

Best regards

Alan Willison
Gateways Team

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Meet the Garden City with a Welcome Team

Malcom Cowan part of the Garden City with a Welcome team

Malcom Cowan

Malcom Day part of the Garden City with a Welcome team

Malcom Day

Dennis Lewis part of the Garden City with a Welcome team

Dennis Lewis

Nigel Quinton part of the Garden City with a Welcome team

Nigel Quinton

Alan Willison part of the Garden City with a Welcome team

Alan Willison

WELWYN GARDEN CITY CENTENARY FOUNDATION LTD. 51 Valley Road, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, AL8 7DH

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The Foundation can accept no responsibility for the organisation or regulation of any satellite events arranged to mark the centenary of Welwyn Garden City. This includes but is not limited to public liability insurance, health and safety issues (including risk assessments, Performance Licenses and safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults), transport, hiring of facilities, and any costs associated. The use of the Foundation name and logo does not infer any specific oversight or involvement of the Foundation unless stated.”