Some of the finest homes in Shrewsbury will be opening their gates on July 3rd for The Kingsland Garden Trail, Kennedy Road, from 2-5pm. Pictured: a stone urn and tulips in the garden of No. 9 Kennedy Road.
Seven gardens in Shrewsbury's Kennedy Road will be open to visitors on July 3 to raise money for Shropshire Historic Churches Trust and St Alkmund's Church. It is a chance to see some of the town's fine Victorian villas close up and admire the beautiful gardens, sloping down to the Rad Brook.
The quiet and leafy suburb of Kingsland was once home to the famous Shrewsbury Show, held annually here from 1591 until 1875. The Shrewsbury guilds would celebrate and entertain dignitaries on show day in small arbours, or feasting halls - you can still see the rather grand entrance to the Shoemakers' Arbour, now in The Dingle.
Aside from the arbours, which were occupied by artisans, there were a handful of larger houses, owned by local worthies, but following the abolition of the show, from 1871 onwards, developments began on the flat (ish), 27-acres of land to create fine Victorian villas.
The above map is shared from Stella Straughan's fabulous Short History of Kingsland which you can find online HERE
The houses themselves were built with the intention of creating a 'high class ambiance' in a variety of Victorian architectural styles - look out for terracotta decoration, Gothic flourishes and black and white gables.
Seven Kingsland gardens will be open to visitors during the day on July 3. The gardeners have been busy preparing their beds! There's a wide variety on offer, from formal grounds and sweeping lawns beneath huge trees, to beautifully planted borders, wide and narrow steps leading down to delightful terraces and a Japanese garden in the making.
You'll also find wild gardens, wild flower areas, long grass, short manicured lawns, specimen trees, small orchards, fruit and vegetable gardens, a potager, ponds, fish and plenty of other wildlife.
A garden view at No.9 Kennedy Road, home to Colin and Sarah Jenkins who are kindly opening their gates to visitors on July 3
Wonderful trees from the Victorian period still dot the pavements along Kennedy Road, which is lined with distinctive, decorative glazed red brick walls. Some of trees have lifted the tarmac, so care is needed.
You can pick up a ticket and a map for £5 (in cash) on Kennedy Road, where you can usually find on-road parking on Sundays. Each of the seven gardens will have tickets for sale - you could choose to start at either end (No.28 at the school end, or No.9 at the lower end).
Teas will be served on the lawn at No.28, there are WCs at some of the gardens (definitely at No. 11 and No.28) and there will be plants for sale at No.14, including Camassias and Agapanthus.
Some gardens have some areas that are suitable for wheelchairs, although the lovely sloped gardens that lead down to the Rad Brook are less accessible; unfortunately not many gardens are wheelchair friendly. Pictured below is No. 14 Kennedy Road, home to Stuart and Sally Sutton who have developed a wildlife pond with a plank bridge.
“The attractive and leafy suburb of Kingsland has changed very little since it was first developed in the period 1880-1900. Many of the trees and large gardens laid out by the Victorians and Edwardians continue. There has been little infilling and no commercialisation. The position of the suburb, the influence of the residents, the presence of a successful public school, together with its designation as a Conservation area, have combined so far to prevent “suburban-blight” - Kingsland: a Shrewsbury Suburb by Stella Straughan
Why are these lovely gardens open you might ask?
The garden owners are very kindly supporting the SHCT, the Shropshire Historic Churches Trust, which exists to give grants for the restoration and repairs of Shropshire churches and chapels of architectural or historic significance. Grants vary from putting slates on roofs, organ and clock repairs, masonry, a bell ringing platform, medieval glass, towers, even a septic tank - anything to keep the church a viable building for future use, including kitchens, toilets and access for people with disabilities.
Money raised from the Kingsland Garden Trail will be evenly split between the SHCT and St Alkmund's church, as part of the SHCT’s Gardens Open programme. Under the scheme, all gardens enter the same 50/50 agreement with the local church receiving 50% of the takings.
You can find a list of the other open garden events on the SHCT website HERE or on the Facebook page ‘ Gardens Open Shropshire’ - Gardens range from village trails to large, small and some huge gardens, a couple of which have access to the church from their garden.
No. 28 Kennedy Road, home to Andrew Cross who will be welcoming visitors on July 3 in aid of the SHCT