Shirley’s wild garden opens its gates for a royal celebration

Party venue: the historic gardens at the Wilderness will be open for a jubilee party on June 4

Staff at a Croydon care home will be using their historic garden to host a street party picnic.

Wilderness Gardens is a seven-acre historic garden situated on Shirley Church Road within MHA Hall Grange, a care home that offers residential and dementia care for up to 86 people.

The party will take place on Saturday June 4 from noon, with staff, residents and family members of the home invited as well as members of the community.

There will be an outdoor hymn service to kick off the celebrations and the party will also include a performance from the Croydon Brass Band.

Tickets are available on a first-come first-serve basis and are available to purchase online and range from £3 to £15.

The Wilderness garden was first created by Rev William Wilks, Vicar of Shirley and former secretary of the Royal Horticulture Society, between 1904 and 1923: a wild garden that lived up to the house’s name. More than 100 years later, it has been restored by MHA to its former glory.

The aim of the groundbreaking project is to improve the lives and the heritage experiences of the residents who live within the care home, together with the local community.

Ideal venue: the Wilderness gardens have an important place in the history of Shirley

Steve Thompson, one of the managers of the gardens, explained how it was decided to hold a jubilee party there. “It’s a great way to engage with the community and celebrate something which may never happen again.

“It was at the request of residents at the home which prompted us to arrange the party and we are very happy with how the plan is coming along. A lot of them were asking us what we will be doing for the jubilee and that’s how the idea came about.

“So far we have sold more than 70 tickets, and we are confident of selling at least 100 in total. The ticket fee will help to cover our costs as this is a break-even event.

“For those who are unable to attend we will be live streaming the service on our Facebook page.

“Hopefully, it’s going to be a great event, in a beautiful location and we are looking forward to seeing as many people as possible joining in with us to celebrate.”

Admission tickets are on sale through until the day of the party, but anyone wishing to book a “luxury picnic hamper” for the day needs to place their order by May 28.

To book tickets, click here to visit the Eventbrite page.

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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