Volunteers, board members and supporters of Floral Guernsey gathered at Candie Gardens yesterday to celebrate 25 years of enhancing the Bailiwick’s aesthetic.
Vice chairman John Woodward explained how the actual anniversary was in 2017 but the celebratory afternoon tea party was held yesterday following the completion of one of Floral Guernsey’s biggest projects.
‘We had a very generous donation from someone that we wanted to put towards something that would reflect the work of Floral Guernsey in a place that gets a lot of footfall, could be enjoyed by everyone and would be a lasting legacy,’ he said.
A full make-over of the bank from the top gate of Candie Gardens to the bottom gate was agreed upon, and work finished last year.
Mr Woodward spoke about Floral Guernsey’s journey over the years, being transformed from a States-run initiative to a community group supported by funding from the States.
The original instigator Evan Ozanne worked for the States Tourist Board in 1992 and, after visiting places in the UK, saw what a difference flower displays made, particularly in holiday towns.
‘What started as a manual programme to plant flowers developed into a body that organised floral shows throughout the island and the Bailiwick’s involvement in the Britain in Bloom competition,’ Mr Woodward said.
‘The shows have been spectacular, and with the emergence of parish floral groups and engagement with Herm, Sark and Alderney, we have done very well over the years.’
He was proud of the progression Floral Guernsey had made.
‘When we first invited someone over from Britain in Bloom to have a look at what we did, he said we were miles behind what they were achieving on the mainland, so we had a lot of catching up to do.
‘Now, Guernsey is really on the map and the work of those involved in Floral Guernsey have helped make the island an attractive place to visit, with big re-planting projects being carried out at La Vallette, the airport, throughout Town, the hospital, Salerie corner and the Halfway.’
Floral Guernsey aims to keep much of its work in the public eye so it can be enjoyed by everyone and will have an important presence when the borders re-open.
‘The work we do has a feel-good factor, which is why people have supported us for so many years,’ he said.
‘People might not realise quite how much goes on, it’s easy to take it for granted which is why it’s important to celebrate landmarks like this one.’