A magical garden for Little Haven hospice

Date
Published in
Green Fingers Appeal website (UK)

A magical garden, inspired by the characters in Tolkien's classic novel 'The Lord of the Rings', has been created at the Little Haven Children's Hospice in Thundersley, near Rayleigh, Essex. Countryside Properties, assisted by 80's pop legend turned celebrity gardener, Kim Wilde, is recreating its award-winning Hobbit Garden in the grounds of the children's hospice. This enchanting garden has been awarded the RHS Silver Medal at the BBC Gardeners' World Live Show 2002 and a further silver medal at the 2002 RHS Show at Tatton Park, Cheshire.

David Fountain, Countryside Properties' Landscape Manager, comments, 'Our garden design was initially inspired by Tolkien's books which are all about fantasy and magic, both of which are especially appreciated by children. It seemed a shame to let the garden go to waste after the RHS Shows, so I approached Little Haven last year with a view to recreating this themed garden in their grounds and they were extremely happy for us to go ahead. The prestigious awards we have previously received for our Hobbit Garden illustrate Countryside's commitment to enhancing and protecting our natural environment through imaginative design. I'm sure that the garden will capture the imaginations of the children, as well as enhancing their stay at the hospice.'

Little Haven is an independently registered charity which offers a warm, homely atmosphere for children in Essex and the Outer London Boroughs, affected by life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses. The annual running cost of the hospice is in the region of £1.4 million, 98% of which is raised through charitable gifts and donations.

Rosie Midson, Head of Care at Little Haven Children's Hospice, comments, 'We are very fortunate at Little Haven to enjoy such wonderful gardens and surrounding countryside. The welcome addition of the Hobbit Garden will help to bring the garden alive for many of the children and families who stay with us on a regular basis. We really appreciate Countryside Properties efforts in creating this magnificent outdoor feature.'

The garden's theme re-creates Bag End, home of the Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, a central character in Tolkien's classic tale. Set into the side of a grass hill, the house has a round front door with timber supports and small leaded windows, which replicates the book's illustrations. A towering figure of Gandalf, which forms a seat, carved from rosewood, has been positioned beside a stone path leading via a small timber gate to the front door.

The planting consists of varieties of shrubs and perennials that have been designed to create colour and provide interest all year round. A Sedum lawn borders either side of the access path, will grow to flower through all of the seasons, and also attract a vast array of butterflies and wildlife, and having the advantage of being maintenance free.

Many businesses have came together to create the garden including: Anderson Group for groundworks; Stewart Landscape Solutions for landscaping; Pharoah Fencing for the fencing; Q-Lawn for the sedum lawn; Crowder Nurseries for the plants; Fibresport for the house refurbishment; Crowley Turf for the turf; LBF Turfing Services & Supplies for the topsoil and the Greenfingers Appeal for the plants and machinery hire.