Help restore lost garden of Sidmouth by joining friends group

Members of the Friends of the Lost Gardens of Elysian Fields at a recent clear up event.

Members of the Friends of the Lost Gardens of Elysian Fields at a recent clear up event. - Credit: Archant

Green-fingered volunteers are being urged to come forward to help create a third public garden in the ‘lost’ grounds of Sidholme Hotel.

The Friends of the Lost Garden in Elysian Fields are looking to restore the site, which has been ‘deteriorating’ over the past two decades.

Before becoming a hotel, it belonged to the Earl and Countess of Buckinghamshire and then went onto be owned by Adolf and Olga Lindemann.

During her time living at the property, Olga was known to be a keen gardener and employed seven gardeners to tend to it.

Volunteers have already begun work, clearing and replanting near the grotto. They also plan to hold fundraisers to help pay for future works.

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Aileen Hyman, who started the friends group, said the initial plan was to redevelop the garden and its borders.

She said: “Sidholme employs a regular gardener but much work is required to gradually redevelop the garden, especially the borders.

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“There are wonderful trees and a tree walk is planned in conjunction with the Civic Arboretum.

“There are magnificent shrubs but many are neglected and need cutting back.”

In 1931, Richmond Lodge was sold to the Methodist Guild as holiday accommodation, but it is now open to all. Land was sold off in the late 1980s and the present gardens are about three acres.

The group was set up on the back of the successful Friends of Sidholme Music Room, which has raised thousands of pounds to restore the room’s seven chandeliers and organ.

Aileen said: “I said it was a pity that if there are people in Sidmouth who raise money for the chandeliers, why can’t we do the same for the gardens and bring it back to how it was?

“The idea is to have Sidholme gardens back up to scratch and have it in addition to Connaught and Blackmore Gardens.

“It would be open to the public and people can walk around the grounds and have a tea or coffee there.

“There must be people that would like to do a few hours of gardening.”

Volunteers of all ages and experience are welcome to join the group on further meet-ups.

Email for more information and further details.

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