Thanks to a very generous donation from CIS Securities on Lewisham High Street, we've finally been able to renew a very old, cracked path in our churchyard. We're absolutely delighted about this, as it means that more visitors will now be able to enjoy all the wonderful new plants we've been putting in that area. The churchyard is open every day for all to enjoy its beauty, peace and biodiversity.
Please enjoy our two videos, one made by the Bible Society for their Chelsea Flower Show Garden in 2021, and the other made for Gardener’s World in June 2017.
The Garden's story
A haven of calm and tranquillity in the heart of Lewisham, St Mary’s Therapeutic Garden is open to anyone who would like a place to sit quietly, and enjoy the beauty and peace it offers." It was created through a joint collaboration between the Ladywell Unit (SLaM) and St Mary’s Church in 2017, to promote mental well-being through gardening. It has perennial beds, wildflower meadows, an orchard, a woodland area and raised beds for vegetables and salads. These are looked after by volunteers, including some from the Ladywell Unit, Mind, and referrals from GP surgeries. Regular gardening sessions take place every Tuesday afternoon, 1-3pm, when everyone is welcome to join in. It is open for visitors to enjoy every day.
During the lockdowns we were pleased to see in how much the local community made use of the Garden - from families with small children to yoga devotees, as well as vulnerable people in need of the solace and safety the Garden provides. Sometimes it's been really busy with people picnicking under the shade of the cherry trees.
We've been absolutely delighted with the way the Therapeutic Garden has really come into its own during this pandemic. We're pleased it's been able to serve the people of Lewisham during a very difficult time. Now that they've discovered it, we're really hoping they will continue to use it as a place of peace, beauty and prayer.
The last day of 2022 saw a large tree come crashing down in St Mary’s Churchyard in the early hours of December 31st. Contractors were quickly on the scene, cutting up the wood, much of which has been left on site at the request of the volunteers who have been working in the churchyard since 2021, trying to improve its biodiversity and make the area more attractive for the local community.
Last year St Mary's Therapeutic Garden was awarded a £10,000 grant by the Lottery to improve the north side of the churchyard. Once a month volunteers have been digging, pruning, clearing and planting. Come and see what a difference they've been able to make, thanks to the Lottery and to Sue Luxton's designs and helpful guidance.
Some of our volunteers.
Refreshments for the volunteers.
Working in the shady area.
Some of our volunteers.
Close to where the tree fell is a newly created pond which is well worth visiting. There are also new flowerbeds, some close to the churchyard wall that runs behind the Ladywell Playtower, and others that follow the wall beside St Peter’s flats. These have all brightened up the area a great deal, and regular visitors have started commenting on how much nicer it all looks.
St Mary’s would welcome new volunteers, especially those who live locally, or those who simply enjoy working in the fresh air and who would like to help create something new in the churchyard. Gardening sessions take place once a month, and the next session is on Saturday February 18th, 10.30-12.30, followed by refreshments!