National Volunteers’ Week 2014 – Bernie Watson and Christine Rundle, Sensory Garden Volunteers

National Volunteers’ Week is a celebration of the incredible work done by volunteers across the country, and so throughout the week we’ll be posting profiles of just some of our incredible volunteers. 

The Sensory Garden at Brandon Marsh Nature Centre, designed by Lucy Hartley, was opened in 2012 and requires dedicated volunteers to maintain it. Bernie Watson and Christine Rundle have worked on it since the beginning:

“Having been involved with the construction of the Sensory Garden as part of Nature Force, when the SOS came from Julie Turner to rescue it from the weeds that were rapidly obliterating it, we said we’d help.  That was in the early summer of 2012.  It took us several Thursdays of hard work, banged heads (on the railings) and sore backs, to bring it back under control, to be the delightful garden Lucy had designed.

Each day that we worked there brought a greater understanding of the concepts Lucy was striving for. The surprise everytime something new appeared, the two euonymous which we had never noticed until they turned pink in the autumn, the tall purple verbena against the cirsiums and grasses, not to mention the bright orange geums, gave it the “wow” factor that thrilled us all and gives pleasure to young and old alike.

We were lucky that first summer was wet, it helped the garden grow and settle so that moving through into 2013 we have found that with a regular monthly session, the weeds have been manageable, the tasks completed.  We have learnt a huge amount.

Nevertheless, we still have our problems.  Rabbits have got in and nibbled many of the flowering plants.  Others have succumbed to frost or drought.  We are awaiting a new pump in the pond so the stream can once again add gentle sounds to the overall sensory appeal.

It has been a challenge, but we enjoy working in the garden, meeting people who appreciate it’s beauty, and watching it mature.  We look forward to every season, knowing what to expect and surprised by the unexpected.  With our Sensory Garden, we never cease to be amazed.”

To read more volunteer profiles, visit the volunteer pages of our website.



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