Fundraising bid to replace greenhouse in historical Warwick gardens

Pictured: Heidi Meyer, Master at the Lord Leycester Hospital, two of the brothers and Sandra Jebb, head gardener at the Lord Leycester Hospital gardens. NNL-170329-095832009
Pictured: Heidi Meyer, Master at the Lord Leycester Hospital, two of the brothers and Sandra Jebb, head gardener at the Lord Leycester Hospital gardens. NNL-170329-095832009

A gardener who has worked at historical gardens in Warwick for nearly 24 years has taken on the mammoth task of raising £10,000 for a new greenhouse.

Sandra Jebb has until the end of the year to raise the necessary funds to replace the Victorian greenhouse in the gardens of the Lord Leycester Hospital.

Sandra said: “The building is in disrepair. I am trying to find bits and pieces of dry sites to grow seedlings because if we can grow our own plants we can keep the garden growing. The greenhouse can’t help grow the quality needed to make the place nice.

“I have always wanted to get it replaced. It was a bit depleted when I first started but it has just got worse and worse. Glass is falling out, the wood has rotted and the roof is concaving in now. We are lucky we didn’t have any snow as I think it would have gone completely.”

“We have to keep the gate to that area closed but if we get a new one we could open it and people could go in and see things growing in there.”

Sandra has taken on the fundraising project to raise £10,000 so an authentic replacement greenhouse can be made.

She said: “The greenhouse is listed so it has got to be similar, made from cedar wood and bespoke. It leans on the town wall so it needs to be built to the contours of the old town wall.

“The company Woodpecker, who we want to rebuilt it, also built a greenhouse for Prince Charles at Highgrove gardens. They have quoted us £10,000 but we have to raise that by the end of the year.”

If the funds are not raised in time the initial quote could go higher.

Sandra said: “If the greenhouse goes that is it. That part of our history would be lost and so much of our history is being dissolved throughout the country it would be a shame for this to be lost forever.”

Heidi Meyer, Master at Lord Leycester Hospital, said: “This is a 500-year-old garden and people have been working in the garden for 500 years.

“Our greenhouse dates back to being on the cusp of the Victorian and Edwardian era and it is about to fall down. Without a greenhouse it would cost an awful lot of money to run the garden and we are planning on replacing it with an authentic greenhouse as it is a Grade II-listed building.

“Our gardener is leading the efforts to raise funds and it is in her interests to have a greenhouse as she can make the most of her garden.”

To help raise funds for the replacement greenhouse there will be an open day at the gardens on Saturday (April 1).

For the open day there will be free entry for all Warwick residents.

Visitors are advised to bring proof of residency in the form of a utility bill.

The open day will feature a bric-a-brac stall and visitors will also have the opportunity to purchase season tickets for the garden at a reduced price.

Season tickets normally cost £15 but they will be sold at £12 at the event.

Sandra also hopes to run further fundraising events throughout the year.