Thrive helps with garden of reflection

09/09/2014

Thrive has helped towards the creation of new garden of reflection at the National Trust’s Sandham Memorial Chapel in Hampshire to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

The garden, designed by award-winning Hampshire garden designer Daniel Lobb (pictured below, photo credit William Shaw) was officially opened in the summer.

Thrive staff and gardeners joined other volunteers to create the half acre garden at The Grade 1 Listed Chapel which is the only property within The National Trust that was purpose-built to commemorate the First World War and contains Stanley Spencer’s visionary paintings.

The interior wall paintings do not commemorate the heroism and brave sacrifice of soldiers in action but provide a rare window onto the very human side of war: chores and kit checks alongside the brotherly love between soldiers and the hope for a more peaceful future.

The unique spirit of these paintings allows modern day visitors to gain some insight into life at war and to reflect upon the sacrifices made by people almost a century ago and through to today.

Spencer’s murals, combined with the often overshadowed story of Harry Sandham, create a wholly fitting memorial for the thousands of ordinary people affected by the Great War.

The new garden offers a tranquil and reflective space for all visitors to enjoy. Fruit trees, cottage garden scented planting and a vegetable plot can be enjoyed alongside the wildflower meadow at the front of the building.

Daniel said: "It was really important to me to quietly absorb the special atmosphere of the place and create a design that sits harmoniously next to the historic chapel, existing meadow and orchard.

"Taking inspiration from the strict formal aesthetic of the chapel building, the garden is rectilinear in plan and very simple.

"I hope it will provide both the opportunity for quiet reflection and an active gardening space for the various partner charity groups and volunteer gardeners which have helped bring my design tor life."

The local community and charities have provided support in the preparation and transformation of the garden. Along with Thrive, these include servicemen and women from Tedworth House, a local rehabilitation centre for injured and sick service personnel funded by Help for Heroes, and London-based homeless charity St Mungo’s.

The National Trust is now working to reinterpret and re-launch Sandham Memorial Chapel for a series of commemorative events across 2014-2015 and beyond.

Kathryn Rossiter, Chief Executive of Thrive, said: "We are delighted to be involved in this project to create a reflective garden at Sandham during the centenary year of the First World War.

"Once this fully accessible community space is open, gardeners at Thrive will continue to help caring and tending this garden, along with other volunteers."

Thrive gardeners will be on site every Thursday.

To watch a short film about the garden, click here. For details on how to visit, click here.

Sandham is just two miles from Highclere Castle, the setting for ITV1 series Downton Abbey.