Early view of gardens

PUBLISHED: 12:04 10 April 2008 | UPDATED: 13:08 06 May 2010

Volunteers get an early tour of the Gardens of the Rose

Volunteers get an early tour of the Gardens of the Rose

A DAY of wintry sunshine and great gardening advice at the Gardens of the Rose was enjoyed by 20 volunteers from Grove House, the St Albans day hospice. The gardens in Chiswell Green, which open to the public from June to the end of September, opened excl

A DAY of wintry sunshine and great gardening advice at the Gardens of the Rose was enjoyed by 20 volunteers from Grove House, the St Albans day hospice.

The gardens in Chiswell Green, which open to the public from June to the end of September, opened exclusively for the volunteer gardeners from Grove House.

And as a result of the visit, Grove House gardening volunteer team leader Sue Hobley is putting together a working party to help with the preparations to open the Gardens of the Rose to the public in the summer.

The morning began with an informative presentation from the president of the National Rose Society, Ann Bird, who had driven from Leicestershire for the day. She shared her expertise on planting, pruning and aftercare before leading the group around the grounds pointing out some of the more practical points she had mentioned.

Said Wendy Burns, voluntary services manager at Grove House: "Although our visit was out of season, the Gardens still looked most attractive. We all had a most enjoyable day and were particularly lucky to have had the expert guidance of Ann Bird, an internationally-renowned rose expert."

Gardening volunteers at Grove House, which is in the grounds of St Albans City Hospital, work hard throughout the year to help keep the hospice grounds in peak condition.

Joan Follett, nursing services manager, said: "It is very therapeutic for patients to be able to watch the arrival of the first snowdrops after the long winter months or sit and enjoy the winter sunshine. We are most grateful to our wonderful team of volunteers."

The Gardens of the Rose, spread over five acres, has recently undergone extensive redesign and now includes some 8,000 roses in approximately 2,000 varieties. Ann described it as, "a living dictionary of roses," and added: "However it is an enormous task getting the Gardens ready for the summer opening and we are always looking for volunteers to help us."

Ann would love to hear from anyone who would be interested in helping to prepare the local tourist attraction for its summer opening. She can be contacted on 01727 850461 or 0845 833 4344.

Ann said: "We are delighted to be linked with Grove House. We look forward to working with them and supporting them in the future. They offer a vital service to local people living with cancer and life-threatening illness."

The Gardens of the Rose are open from Wednesdays to Saturdays from June 4 until September 28 and more information is available from the 0845 number above.

Further information about Grove House and its services can be obtained by calling 01727 731000 or visit the website www.grove-house.org.uk

n Places are still available on the Lions Walk for Grove House this Sunday, April 13. Anyone interested in taking part should contact Willie Martin on 01727 760904.

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