Gardens only for parish stalwart

AFTER 18 years of service to St Martin’s, John Garnham, 80, and his wife are taking a step back from their duties for the parish.

John Garnham, 80, and his wife are stepping back from maintenance duties in St Martin’s, but are continuing to look after the parish’s gardens. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30958884)
John Garnham, 80, and his wife are stepping back from maintenance duties in St Martin’s, but are continuing to look after the parish’s gardens. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30958884)

Mr Garnham, a well-regarded gardener and handyman, has decided to move away from helping with parish maintenance and focus purely on the gardening.

‘I was first asked to help out around the parish when I was in full-time employment,’ he said. ‘I was already planning on going part-time so I decided to work Monday to Thursday, and then spend Fridays in the gardens and helping round the area.’

Mr Garnham moved to St Martin’s after he got married to his wife, Marilyn, 50 years ago. He spends every day in and around the gardens, planting and weeding all round the parish hall, in the Grande Rue, and watering the plants in the evening.

‘The best part about it is watching people walk around and admiring the flowers. Every year people recognise how neatly we keep it.’

Mr Garnham is currently preparing the flowers to be judged on 4 July for a parish competition based on the presentation of the flowers and how tidy the beds are.

Moving away from the maintenance side of duties will give him more of a chance to focus on the gardening, keeping parish property looking colourful throughout the summer months.

Being on the maintenance team meant that Mr Garnham was all over the parish.

A lot of the benches around the parish have been refurbished and put out by him over years, and he built all of the flower boxes out of old timber.

‘A memorable moment would be winning the Small Territories Canadian Communities in Bloom International Challenge in 2012, where we announced winning in the parish hall by rolling down a huge Canadian flag from the ceiling,’ he said. It was the first time any group from the Channel Islands had entered the floral competition.

‘I’m happy that I’ve left my role in the capable hands of the douzaine as they take over.’ Mr and Mrs Garnham will continue to maintain the parish garden for the near future, keeping it attractive for everyone.

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