Official Garden Opening at St Mary’s Calne

Official Garden Opening at St Mary’s Calne

28 September 2021

From 22nd-24th September, St Mary’s Calne enjoyed a series of wonderful ‘Leaf to Leaf’ events to mark the opening of their beautiful new Garden and Library.

On Wednesday 22nd September, they were delighted to welcome Gardener, BBC broadcaster, writer and lecturer, Pippa Greenwood, to officially open the Lime Kiln Garden. Originally planned for Spring 2020, the Garden Opening was postponed due to the pandemic, so it was even more special to welcome guests and bring their community together again to unveil this beautiful space, designed by Sally Harley-Martin. Governors, parents, alumnae and trustees of the Calne Foundation Trust joined the celebrations in the September sunshine.

Headmistress, Dr Felicia Kirk, welcomed guests and opened the evening of celebrations; she described the extensive benefits of this unique space and how it has become a wonderful asset enjoyed by the girls and staff alike. Dr Kirk went on to thank Garden Designer and former Calne parent, Sally Harley-Martin, who meticulously designed the space to create ‘an oasis of calm contributing to the wellbeing and enjoyment of everyone in our community’. Sculptor Anna Bromiley was thanked for the crafting of Faith, Hope and Love: three elegant sculptures which sit within the garden, as well as former parent, Lisi Ashbridge, for the magnificent hand carving on the slate plaque mounted in the central recess of the dias which displays Cicero’s words ‘SI HORTUM IN BIBLIOTHECA HABES DEERIT NIHIL’ (If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need).

Sally Harley-Martin then described her process of designing the garden, the considerations of the topography and geology of the site and how she put the garden together to really entice everyone to use it, to open their eyes to the seasons and to enjoy the fresh air. Sally explained how thrilled she was to have seen the garden put to such great use already in its initial year, and thanked the Grounds Team for their guidance and care of the garden.

Pippa Greenwood then spoke, stressing the many benefits of nature and outdoor space on mental wellbeing. She described how, in her personal life, getting outdoors and in the garden had contributed to her own wellbeing, particularly when dealing with challenging circumstances such as upset toddlers or a stressful day at work! She also highlighted the benefits of a career in horticulture before cutting the ribbon and declaring the garden officially open.

Entertainment in the garden was provided by some of the pupils, including some beautiful singing, piano and guitar solos, while local gardening enthusiasts arrived to enjoy the garden before making their way to the Library for ‘Plant your Questions’, a live expert panel event, chaired by Pippa Greenwood.

Andrew Johnstone and Serena Fremantle joined Sally and Pippa to form an esteemed panel of gardening experts. They took a series of questions from the audience and each panellist offered detailed and thoughtful insights and expert tips on a range of garden-related queries, from advice on growing Orchids, to how to extend garden interest into autumn and recommendations for caring for Agapanthus over winter, to name a few!

It was a wonderful evening of festivities to mark the opening of this fantastic space and everyone at St Mary’s is looking forward to watching the garden grow and thrive alongside generations of Calne girls.

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