The gardens in the squares have been open to residents since 1994 (Merrick Square) and 1997 (Trinity Church Square) and have been well used. Use of TCS garden has increased since the closure of Trinity Street to through traffic. Since 1998 TNRA has taken part in the London-wide Open Garden Squares Weekend in June, opening first just Merrick Square garden and since 2007 both gardens on the Sunday of the weekend. See pictures here and here. And see here for information about the statue in Trinity Church Square garden.
Originally laid out in the 19th century, the gardens were redesigned and replanted in 2000 in accordance with designs drawn up by the Museum of Garden History (now the Garden Museum). In 2010, TNRA became concerned that the condition of the gardens had declined and we commissioned a report to assess this. We discussed the gardens with Trinity House and the managing agents. See below for the current situation.
After much discussion, Trinity House provided funding in 2011 for improvements to Trinity Church Square, including the metal edging of beds, composting, the planting of shrubs and ground cover and the planting of several thousand bulbs. The lawn now benefits from the regular attentions of Greenthumb, the grass maintenance specialists. Local gardening expert Penny Hinves has been retained to prune shrubs and plants in Trinity Church Square and volunteers have undertaken to water new plants in their first season.
TNRA awaits a response from Trinity House/Capita to recent proposals for the involvement of residents in the on-going work of maintaining the Trinity Church Square garden. We have proposed a day of weeding by community volunteers on Saturday 26 May (two weeks before the Open Garden Squares Weekend). TNRA organised an extensive weeding session on Saturday 1 July 2011. More than eight months later, weeds are still few and far between. We have suggested that Trinity House/Capita fund the purchase of organic matter (fertiliser) for residents to distribute on a Saturday in early Autumn. This was done in 2011 and has improved plant growth, kept weeds back and helped to retain soil moisture. Finally, we would propose to help with the clearing of leaves from central and side beds on two or three Saturday mornings in early Winter.
Trinity House/Capita have also asked for our suggestions for improvements in Merrick Square. TNRA organised a "pub social” on Monday 23 January at The Roebuck to give Merrick Square residents an informal opportunity to discuss their garden. Approximately 20 residents attended. The consensus was that the aim should be "restoration” rather than "transformation”. The parterre in the centre of the garden should be retained but replanted where required, particularly where there is now compacted earth, to give more colour. The use of metal hoops/edging to protect the parterre was supported. The only innovation proposed was the introduction of more seating – two more seats in the north east and south west corners of the square, mirroring those in the other two corners already.
Penny Hinves is working up a costed plan for improvements. The role of residents from Merrick Square in weeding, composting and planting is under discussion. Please let us know if you would be prepared to join a team of volunteers!
Volunteers weeding, planting, fertilising and watering TCS garden in the last of the sunshine in December 2011.