Glasses of fizz, special guests and two Shetland ponies mark unveiling of Sunken Garden information board

Mayor of Margate, Cllr Rob Yates, and Sue Finch from the Sunken Garden Society Committee unveil the board Photo Carl Hudson

The Sunken Garden Society met at the garden on Westbrook’s Royal Esplanade on Saturday (February 17) to celebrate the unveiling of the new information board.

The unveiling was done by Mayor of Margate, Cllr Rob Yates, and Sue Finch from the Sunken Garden Society Committee.

The information board, funded by Kent Community Foundation, was designed by Sunken Gardener Andrew Miller in a 1930’s colour and style. The board contains a map and information about plants, their history and positions within the garden. Historical pictures also illustrate the gardens development through the last 90 years.

During the ceremony, Bev Atkin was awarded the Golden Watering Can award for outstanding contributions. Bev works very hard behind the scenes, raising funds for the garden, and was instrumental in winning the funds for the information and notice board. Bev has also successfully gained funding from Southern Water and the Rotary for the extra-long benches that have been reinstated on the lower tier of the garden as part of the garden revival.

Photo Carl Hudson

Three more benches are due to be installed within the next month, two of them funded by the CO-OP Community Fund and the third one is a memorial bench for the mother of the Kenehan family, who lived on Fitzmary Avenue.

Photo Carl Hudson

Guests were welcomed to the ceremony with a glass of non-alcoholic sparkling wine and some beautifully hand-made cupcakes from the Little Brown Fairy Cake Shop in Westgate-on-Sea. They were joined by two miniature ponies who were passing by the garden during the celebration.

The event also marked the six-year anniversary when the founder of the Sunken Garden Society, Peter Hasted, met with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust below the garden on Westbrook Undercliff, where they planted Bumblebee-friendly shrubs during the chilly “Beast from the East” weather event.

Peter Hasted with Margate mayor Rob Yates Photo Carl Hudson

Peter said: “If I hadn’t braved the cold easterly winds six years ago as a local coastal warden, I wouldn’t have met the Bumblebee Trust, and the Sunken Garden Society would have never been formed.

“ I sometimes wonder what would have become of the garden if I had stayed home on that bitterly cold winter’s morning.”

Cllr Yates added: “It was a delight to unveil the new information board at Sunken Gardens on Saturday and meet the volunteers and Joe the apprentice. It’s really uplifting to see a community space looked after and loved by the community.

“It’s such an attraction that we were coincidentally joined by some Shetland ponies and their owners who wanted to experience the gardens. Thank you to everyone involved, you’re an important part in what makes Margate such a fabulous place to live.”

Photo Carl Hudson

The Sunken Garden Society is now planning a second ecology fair after the huge success of the first one during the “Sunken Ecologies,”  art festival hosted by Margate Now in 2021. Event planning is hard work, so the not-for-profit volunteer group is interested in hearing from anyone who is able to give some of their time to help produce activity to take place in October.

Photo Carl Hudson

The garden is currently running a “big sunflower summer” promotion with many thousands of sunflower seed packets available Free through local shops, businesses and schools. The title line “Let’s all brighten up Thanet” asks all participants to plant in 2024 for a lovely bright summer display all across the Isle.

Photo Carl Hudson

If you would like to support the Sunken Garden Society but are unable to give your time, you can make a donation a https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/restore-the-sunken-gardens.

The donation page can also be found at https://thesunkengarden.co.uk/.

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