All information in this blog post is correct as of the publishing date, 13.10.14.
During 2014, we are celebrating 30 years of bringing customers from the UK to the Channel Islands. As part of this celebration, we will be writing about 30 Guernsey essentials, from attractions and outdoor activities to special local food and some lesser-known island treats.
Part 10: Guernsey’s Public Gardens
Guernsey’s exceptional gardens are the natural combination of excellent climatic conditions and a large pool of keen and competent gardeners. The island benefits from much milder temperatures than the UK, especially during the winter, allowing for exotic and subtropical plants to survive outdoors throughout the year. The results are beautifully crafted and tended gardens, some historical, some newly grown, all ready to be admired.
Restored to their former nineteenth century glory in the 1990s, Candie Gardens are historical gardens first created in 1894 as a Victorian public flower garden.
Located at the top of St. Peter Port, there is now much more than a simple public park. The panoramic views over the town and harbour set Candie Gardens apart as a place of beauty and the space is also host to the Guernsey Museum, the Priaulx Library (Guernsey’s Historical and Family History Research Centre) and a couple of magnificent greenhouses dating as far back as the late eighteenth century.
You will probably pay several visits to Candie gardens during your stay, as the entry is free and many events, from horticultural to musical, are held there.
Also unmissable are the public gardens at Saumarez Park, in the parish of Castel. The park is widely used as a venue for some of the island’s main calendar events (see the West Show) and is a popular place for islanders to take a picnic on a sunny day before heading to the coast and a stroll on the beach.
Saumarez Park’s rose gardens and flower beds are immaculately looked after by an array of volunteers. However the main point of interest lies in the 1830 Victorian Walled Garden recently restored by Guernsey Botanical Trust. This garden includes a Lemon House where you will find lemon trees, tomatoes and seedlings for use in the Park. The Park is also remarkable for having the finest collection of trees on the island.
Do not mistake Saumarez Park for Sausmarez Manor, although both have fascinating gardens!
Twenty years ago the Floral Guernsey council was created to assist the local Tourist Board in promoting anything floral happening on the island. The result is a very active society now engaged in anything from community projects to making sure public spaces are kept ‘green’. They work closely with the Royal Horticultural Society and regularly plan tours, visits and exhibitions, many of which are held in Candie Gardens and Saumarez Park. Do visit their website to find out more.
Maybe their loveliest achievement is the creation of the Floral Guernsey Daffodil, a simple yet stunning specimen of daffodils, one of the most widely found flowers on Guernsey.