A home for plants and wildlife….
The garden provides year-round interest and colour with many unusual species to be discovered. At the front of the house, among the trees of particular interest are a Catalpa or Indian Bean Tree and the Ginkgo biloba, whose leaves are widely used as a herbal remedy. The rear garden has many other species, both native and exotic, the most venerable being the gnarly sweet chestnut. A Tree Trail giving information on some of the trees in the garden is available on request at reception.
The site was originally part of the native heathland with Scots Pine trees and heathers. The acidity in the soil provides ideal growing conditions for lime-hating plants. Among those in the garden are Camellias, Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and Heathers. The Pines were felled mainly in the period 1940 -1960, having succumbed to storm damage.
The island bed immediately behind the house has a small ornamental pond at the centre. Despite its size, it has provided a habitat for a variety of invertebrates including freshwater shrimps, water boatmen, cyclops, water fleas, clams and snails. A larger, newer, wildlife pond at the rear of the garden provides a habitat that encourages a wider range of animals, for example, newts, frogs and various insect larvae.
In 2022 the Society entered Bournemouth in Bloom. Particular successes were a Gold Award in the Environmentally Friendly Garden category, and another Gold Award and Best in Class for the sweet chestnut in the Tree Contributing to Bio-diversity category.
An olive tree, olea europaea, was purchased in 2022 to mark the Platinum Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II. This is a very long-lived species and it is hoped it will do well.
The garden serves the interests of many BNSS Sections particularly bird watching, the study of insects and plants, and photography. It has recently been used as backdrop for documentary filming. The garden will no doubt continue to evolve and develop as long as new members take up the challenge of maintaining it.