Sunday, April 14th, 2024

Transformation of eyesore near Sevenoaks station is blooming marvellous

THE combined efforts of a small group of community minded people have transformed an overgrown eyesore of weeds and long grass close to Sevenoaks Station into an attractive area of plants and flowers.

Sharon, Fidelity and Sarah have given this garden area down by Sevenoaks Station a lovely makeover in time for this year’s judging of the South & South East In Bloom competition.

The area between the bottom of Tubs Hill and the corner of Granville Road behind the bus stop had been left unkempt for a number of years but commuters and visitors to the town are now greeted with a delightful garden display.

The journey to this transformation actually started at another Sevenoaks transport hub, the town bus station.

A few years ago, Sevenoaks Town Council sent out a message asking if people would like to become involved in helping with an entry into the South & South East In Bloom competition.

Local taxi driver Adrian Cheeseman picks up the story. He said: “When I was sitting on the rank next to the flower bed at the bus station I used to think ‘I could make that look a lot nicer and it could also benefit wildlife’.

“So, when the town council asked for help, I spoke to my boss at the time, Jane Hatfield of Victor Hire Taxis, about my idea and she kindly said the company would pay for the plants. Local bus company Go Coach also contributed both financially and with practical help.

“I removed 23 bags of rubble from the bed which the town council recycled. I then added some manure donated by Bradbourne Riding Stables plus some compost and planted it up with herbaceous perennials and shrubs to provide a source of nectar and pollen from February through to October when the bumblebees and other pollinators are active.

“The town council were so pleased with the result that they asked if I would do the same thing at the bottom of Tubs Hill and Granville Road by the bus stop.”

As this was a larger area Adrian enlisted the help of Sevenoaks resident Sharon Carver, Fidelity Weston, who owns Romshed Farm in Underriver, and is a former chair of the Kent Wildlife Trust, and her neighbour Sarah Rogers from the Riverhill Himalayan Gardens who kindly donated some of the plants.

Georgina Burnett, who has her own blog about interior design and upcycling and can often be seen presenting the weather forecasts on BBC Southeast news and BBC London news, has also joined in on the effort. She lives nearby and regularly checks the area and removes any litter.

Litter is something Georgina feels strongly about and a few months ago she completed a sponsored 26-mile marathon litter pick up around Sevenoaks to raise funds during the Children in Need campaign.

Adrian said: “Between us we’ve managed to improve the site in terms of looks and for the benefit of wildlife. Both the bus station and Granville Road sites have already been recognised in Kent Wildlife Trust’s ‘Wild About Gardens’ awards and are now part of Sevenoaks’ entry into South & South East in Bloom 2018. Last year Sevenoaks won a Silver Gilt award in the town centre category.”

Adrian and several other volunteers are now busy preparing Sevenoaks Town Centre for this year’s South & South East in Bloom competition as the judging takes place on Wednesday 4 July.

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