It was after my wife and I moved into a town house in Shaftesbury from a neighbouring village that I found myself without a garden and so time on my hands! Having decided that retiring was more than cutting grass and worrying about watering when away on holiday, the Abbey Gardens seemed the ideal location to offer my services as an ‘under-gardener!’
And what a super place it is to ‘work’ in – peace and tranquility; visitors to talk to; such a variety of flowers and shrubs; the herb garden (a real gem with historical connections) – and the incredible layout of the ruins, conjuring up the grandeur of Shaftesbury’s past. There’s a shed to work out of, which is not your own, with plenty of tools supplied, and refreshments served. Most of all there is the teamwork, with compliments from so many visitors enjoying the well-kept condition of the garden. It is like a home, but without the responsibilities of running a house! And what pleasure it gives as there is time to sit and enjoy one’s handiwork.
Soon after joining the team, my wife was at home when she received a phone call for me – so she said I was up at the Abbey “trimming his grandfather’s beard”. It so happens that my first name is Edred – one of the grandsons of Alfred the Great – whose statue dominates the garden. The ivy had been rather active that year!
Perhaps fate had drawn me to the Abbey Gardens, and I hope to remain active there for many more years to come – certainly Grandfather will be keeping an eye on me.
Edred Bowman (Friend and Volunteer)