Poppies to Remember

Poppies for Remembrance on the gates

Thank you to all our volunteers, members and local residents who donated plastic bottle bases over the past year – look what we did with them! It might not be quite Tower of London level, but our poppy cascade makes a great “Stop and Remember” point on your walk around the park this week.

We also added some to the Peace Garden gates.


Woolwich Garrison Church gardens

The Woolwich Garrison Church Trust has commissioned Chelsea Gold Medal winner Juliet Sargeant to create a Commonwealth and Gurkha garden on their site. They already had outline drawings, above, by local designer Don Albrecht, and are now looking for feedback about the plans.

Commonwealth Memorial Garden for St George's Garrison Church - proposed plan

The idea is to have an English Orchard and wildflower garden on one side of the church, and the Commonwealth countries and Gurkhas reflected in the planning on the other side. Chair of the Trust, Tim Barnes, says that in Gurkha villages there is always a central tree which acts as a focal point for village life – so there are plans for a circular seat around the base of one of the trees to reflect this tradition.

There are some lovely ideas, download the full document below if you are interested.

Afternoon tea at the Garrison Church, Woolwich

Members who came to this event on 5 June 2021 were treated to an interesting talk from Tim Barnes about the history of the Church, and the plans for the future, including a Commonwealth Garden designed by Chelsea gold medal winner Juliet Sargeant. We also saw the crypt and the beautiful mosaics. The award-winning gates feature three flowers of remembrance, the poppy, the forget-me-not (Germany) and the cornflower (France).

Blackheath Flower Club remembers

Sian’s latest Newsletter to the members of the Blackheath Flower Club:

Here we are in Lockdown once more, on remembrance day 11/11/2020. Elizabeth Crawley’s great granddaughter, Daisy, wrote this moving poem when she was 10, she is 17 now:

Earl Haig founded the Royal British Legion in 1921 adopting the poppy as its emblem. He ordered 9 million poppies from a French woman, Anna Guerin, and sold them on 11th November, 1921. That first ‘Poppy Appeal’ raised over £106, 000 to help veterans with housing and jobs. To ensure plenty of poppies for the next appeal a Poppy Factory was set up to employ disabled ex-servicemen.

Everyone has been busy decorating churches and windows with poppies etc: Richard put a collage of petals in his window, Yvonne decorated Saint Alfege’s, I put a display in Ascension Church.

Meanwhile, in Westminster Abbey, NAFAS (National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies) Ladies (lead by Kathy Stangaard, who has demonstrated regularly at Blackheath and Mottingham Clubs) put foliage round the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. They also made a posy for Camilla to put on the Tomb. Also they were asked to place a rose🌹on 82 chairs for the only guests allowed. They heard Jools Holland and Ruby Turner practising ‘Abide with me’. The picture of decorating the Tomb was on BBC news, but no mention of NAFAS…

The British tomb of the Unknown Warrior holds an unidentified British soldier killed on a European battlefield during the First World War. He was buried in Westminster Abbey on 11th November 1920, simultaneously with a similar interment of a French unknown soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

…We will remember them.

Feeling a little nostalgic…

I wonder how many people listened to the moving tribute on Radio 4 on 10 April from a woman who had just lost her sister to Covid-19? She listed a range of qualities for which Billie, her sister, would be remembered. If I were to write a tribute to my parents, gardening would be one of them. They were both growers. Brought up on the land, their year revolved around growing, cultivating and then preserving the fruit and vegetables produced. For me, gardening at certain times of year strongly evokes memories. I still have some sacks which, when they gave them to me, were full of potatoes; I have plant labels from the plants they gave me to grow on myself with the names of varieties like Moneymaker, Gardener’s Delight, Scarlet Emperor, Winter King. Their handwriting is still clearly visible. The varieties I grow myself is often informed by what they used to grow; tried and trusted varieties. Sometimes, it is the smell of fresh tomatoes on my hands, or hot sun on grass. The song of birds on my allotment and the quiet created by these strange times evokes memories of childhood with my father on his plot.

Gardens are, of course, places of remembrance and memories. In many cultures they have been created as oases of peace. A few years ago I drove around Normandy with a friend, visiting the gardens in the region. Jardin de Sericourt tells the story or war and peace and contains symbols of a once war-torn-landscape. One area (the garden is designed into ‘compartments’) has a series of topiary symbolising fallen soldiers, for example. This does not, however, create a sombre atmosphere. Rather it is a garden full of joy and hope.

jardin de sericourt 1
The Warrior Garden at Jardin de Sericourt

This page on Jardin de Sericourt’s website is well worth a look for the videos giving virtual tours. https://www.jardindesericourt.com/newpage