Dickens House Sculpture Garden (27 May 2002)
Press Release (no.38)
27 May 2002
Summer 2000 and the garden of the Dickens House in Rochester was waist-high in nettles and knee-deep in rubble until warden Phil Gomm came up with a cunning plan to transform the wasteland behind the student residence.
Phase one involved clearing the land, planning the garden and begging what was needed to build it (thank you Suttons and Mr Fothergills for the seeds, thank you B&Q for plants and trellis and Vincents for the ad hoc terracotta planters!). A year later, 12 tonnes of debris has been replaced with 11 tonnes of topsoil and compost. The scrub has given way to a romantic tapestry of shady places, perennial plants and sunny seats - a resource that is enjoyed by lots of people - students, staff and neighbours who appreciate the new view from their windows.
A large decked area has been built at the bottom of the garden, which provides a different, hot area for sunbathing (or whatever you need a flat surface for in a garden). Phil's plan now is to create a Mediterranean garden here and subdue the pesky nettles once and for all.
But, delightful though the garden is, would anyone peering over the wall link it and the people enjoying it to art and design? Phil's vision for Phase 2 is to include an eclectic collection of sculpture. Please, if you can donate a piece, or know someone who might be interested, let us know.