Last year the neighbourly little group that is Bishopston Garden Club opened its gardens to the public for the first time.

  The day was and outstanding success, with over 300 enthusiastic visitors and raised an astonishing £1900 for the Friends of the University Botanic Gardens and the Cystic Fibrosis charity.

The Garden Club, which has been going for about 13 years now, grew out of the Neighbourhood Watch group as a friendly adhoc gathering for sharing plants, advice and activities together.  There is very little organisation or competitive element (well maybe just a hint).  Meetings are hosted by members, so it is very localised and cannot grow much bigger.  We visit each other’s gardens or go on trips to large places.  Our biggest trip was to Highgrove by coach, a particular treat.

This year we are focusing on local projects, and with seven or eight gardens opening on May 19th we will be using money raised to help fund planting schemes in the Gloucester Road, an initiative begun by the Neighbourhood Partnership who are entering our area as part of Bristol in Bloom and RHS Neighbourhood in Bloom.  We are working on several elements towards ‘greening’ our local high street, including hanging baskets, filling permanent planters which have been left empty, and generally adding vegetation anywhere we can.  This will support and encourage local businesses to take part in the competition announced in last month’s Bishopston Matters, for the best floral forecourt display.

As much as possible, we will try to include good pollinating plants to attract bees and butterflies.  Everyone knows what a difficult time it has been for these creatures. Since the wonderful meadow-style planting was used at the Olympic Park last year, we have heard of other experiments across 4 cities in the UK where Parks departments have put in 15 wide flower margins consisting of many indigenous species with single flowers that cover a long season to encourage biodiversity.  It would be good to take this opportunity to join in with this initiative in any way we can.

We look forward to welcoming lots of visitors on May 19th, from 2 – 5pm.  Tickets will be on sale at the gardens, plants at no. 3 Logan Road, teas at 104 Egerton Road.  Watch out for posters on trees in local streets for details.