The Chrysalis Sensory Garden Grand Opening

Posted on: September 27th, 2019

This week saw the grand opening of our long awaited, beautiful, Sensory Garden. We were lucky that the rain held off for the ceremonial ribbon cutting, and our guests and members were able to enjoy meandering along the pathways with the perfume of delicate flowers and sound of water trickling from the water feature, before having a well earned rest in one of the many seating areas. 

Two years ago we were given a grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation of £25,000 to create a sensory garden at our resource base in West Street, Wigton.

It had previously been a Quaker Meeting House and had a walled back garden. It had the potential to be beautiful but had black tarmac at one end, a plain lawn in the middle, and a roughly graveled area at the far end with very little access to move around the garden. 

We launched a competition with pupils at our local secondary school (Nelson Thomlinson) to come up with an inspiring design, and it was the winner Toby Cass who’s design won and laid the foundations of the garden design we see now.

Toby Cass – Winning Garden Design

Two years, and lots of hard work later, with help from professionals, volunteers and staff alike (and the support and generosity of the local community) the garden has been transformed into a wonderful space our members can enjoy all year round.

Our vision is to have all the sensory factors explored and experienced within the garden: Touch – with running water features and different textures of plants and installations; Smell – from a variety of scented plants and shrubs; Sight – using mirrors, structural planting, light and shade; Sound – encouraging birds to visit the garden, sound of running water, wind chimes and other installations providing sound; Taste – planting a variety of edible flowers, herbs and vegetables.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation funding allowed

us to create the sensory garden with this team of professionals:

Garden design – Lisa Leonard, Acer Gardens

Pathways resign bond – Quattro

Water feature installation – Andy Nicol, ARBMap Ltd

Electrics for water Feature – Sandy Gasgarth, Abbey Electrical

Plants – David G Ross, Wholesale Nurseries

Lectern sign – Grafix Signmakers

Watercolour of garden for lectern sign – Kevin Nutter, Daffodil Lane Gallery

Ground preparation and general jobs – Vince Parry

Volunteers and companies that have given their time, expertise and donations to help create this beautiful garden:

PPM – for kindly moving the raised veg beds to their new location.

Mass planting weekend, Lisa Leonard with her gardening friends Julie Jackson and Alison Gash, plus Chrysalis staff, Julie Walsh and Pam Oddy.

Grass cutting by Tivoli.

Ray Fearon – for general support and advice throughout.

Dobbies Garden Centre – for plants and free delivery of large pots.

Sainsbury’s – for donating refreshments.

VV Rouleaux – for kindly donating official opening ribbon.

Cumberland Building Society – loan of large umbrellas.

Futamura – more umbrellas!

A massive thank you to everyone who voted for us to receive the grant from the Masonic Charitable Trust, as we would never have been able to do this without your support.

And finally, another huge thank you to lots and lots of our Chrysalis members and their support workers for all their hard work in getting the garden ready for its grand opening by mowing the grass, weeding, watering and general tidying up!