How four ladies are telling the story of Thetford...in a community garden
10:44 09 May 2014
As a town so steeped in culture and history, telling the story of Thetford in a nutshell can be tricky.
However four residents have come up with a unique way of showcasing their town - by designing a community showgarden that tells people everything they need to know about Norfolk’s fourth largest settlement.
Fed up with some people’s “negative attitude” towards their home town, Jane Varanand, Marilyn Barrett, Maggie Findlay and Anne Short came up with an idea to show people what Thetford is really like.
Their creation, which started as nothing more than an idea in Mrs Varanand’s home in Abbey Green, Thetford, has now blossomed - in every sense of the word - to a striking display which will be exclusively showcased at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in July.
It depicts the town’s most famous figures, including Thomas Paine, the political theorist, and Captain Mainwaring, of Dad’s Army - which was filmed nearby - contains a turf and wildflower mound which replicates the man-made earthworks seen in Castle Hill and is even made using true Breckland soil and plants.
In keeping with the town’s community spirit, it has been sponsored by Thetford businesses, with poppies grown by the local allotment society and plants cultivated by nearby growers.
Organisers are even calling on budding musicians from the town to come up with a song for the garden, which will be played at the flower show’s press day on July 7.
Mrs Varanand explained: “I got fed up with the negative attitude about Thetford and thought: ‘It’s a fabulous place. It’s got an awful lot going for it.’
“We switched on the television and saw the Chelsea Flower Show, so thought: ‘Let’s do a garden.’”
The women - who called themselves the Monday Morning Club, as that was the day of the week when they had their first meeting about the project - soon enlisted the help of garden designer Luke Haydon.
As many of Thetford’s historic buildings were lost to new developments during the London overspill, the garden cannot depict iconic structures in the way a London or New York might be able to.
However Mrs Varanand said: “What we do have is an immense historical value to Thetford and several characters that have made Thetford over many hundreds of years what it is today.”
The project still needs £5,000 in sponsorship. Those who offer £25 get a limited edition print of the garden, while everyone who sponsors is recognised on a board which will be displayed at the flower show. The garden is due be built in the middle of June.
To sponsor the garden, visit the group’s Facebook page by searching for Monday Morning Club - Thetford Comunity Garden on the social networking site.
Alternatively Tweet @MondayMClub or email Mrs Varanand firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you organising an exciting community project? Tell us all about it by emailing email@example.com