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These pages chart the progress of the project which is currently
IN ABEYANCE

January 2004
Background
A garden with its very own micro-climate has been re-discovered on Jersey. Having fallen into disrepair, the significance of the garden had been lost in time. Following the discovery, a group of experts have come together with the aim of putting the garden back on the horticultural map, where it hasn't been since the early 1900s.

The garden was unearthed by Cheltenham-based businesswoman, Angie Petkovic, Managing Director, APT Marketing Solutions, whilst at a meeting with her hotel client, Chateau La Chaire, Rozel Bay. The garden is situated within the hotel grounds. Angie says, “I knew there was something special about the garden as soon as I wandered into it. However, it wasn't until I invited expert Tony Russell to fly over and look at it that we started to appreciate just how important it was.”

Well-known gardening expert Tony Russell adds, “This garden has fantastic potential. If we are given the opportunity to re-create it, it could be like the Eden Project with the top down. It really is very exciting”.

The original creator of the gardens, Samuel Curtis, was a renowned Victorian horticulturalist who had toured the British Isles looking for the perfect micro climate in which to develop a garden. In 1841 he found the ideal environment - a sunny, sheltered, rocky valley facing the sea in Rozel, Jersey.

Virtually frost-free because of its proximity to the sea and with a soft purple conglomerate "pudding stone" soil, providing the perfect growing conditions for sub-tropical plants. The original garden was terraced and home to an impressive collection of sub-tropical plants, many of which came from the glasshouses of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

By the time of his death in 1860, Samuel Curtis had established one of the most unique gardens in Britain and in the process pushed the boundaries of what could be grown in a natural environment further than anyone before, or since. When German forces occupied the island during The Second World War, the garden was pillaged of the remaining Curtis plant collection and taken back to Germany.
Elizabeth Jeffries, Chief Executive, Jersey Tourism adds, “Jersey can honestly celebrate its international reputation for gardens and its floral excellence. The Samuel Curtis project could move us from a well known to a celebrity status internationally; it is a fantastically exciting project in the short, medium and long term.”

Feasibility study
In October 2002, Angie Petkovic of APT Marketing Solutions commissioned a feasibility study for the restoration of the gardens at La Chaire, Rozel Bay, Jersey. The feasibility study was to include an historical survey, botanical survey and garden restoration plan. The study is due for completion by the end of spring 2003.

Lead horticultural consultant for the study is Tony Russell of Tony Russell Associates and the historical survey and restoration plan is being carried out by Simon Bonvoison of Nicholas Pearson associates.

The objectives of the study are as follows:
  • To confirm whether the gardens at La Chaire are of such botanical and historical importance that a restoration is justifiable.
  • To ascertain the extent and nature of any restoration.
  • To confirm whether it is practical, given the current topography and access considerations, to carry out a restoration which results in a garden that is open for public visitation.
  • To identify options for future management following restoration.
  • To identify the costs involved in a restoration.
  • To identify the timescales involved in a restoration.
  • To identify potential partners and funders of a restoration.
£30,000 of the total £60,000 required, has been raised for the feasibility study. Donations towards the feasibility study are gratefully received. The outcome of the feasibility study will be made public.
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