Sunday, 14 August 2022

George garden idea grows

A GARDEN inspired by musician George Harrison is set to be created in Mill Meadows in Henley.

The location is favoured by the late Beatle’s widow Olivia, who still lives at Friar Park, the home they bought in the Seventies.

Henley in Bloom is working with Gae Exton, from the Harrisons’ charity the Material World Foundation, to develop the idea.

Mayor Kellie Hinton, who chairs Henley in Bloom, said the charity would fund the project.

She said: “They are keen for the garden to be at Mill Meadows. It’s a great location by the flowing water and away from traffic as well as being looked after by the council’s parks team.

“They are happy to fund the garden and are not expecting us to come up with a huge amount of money as they are aware of our budget constraints.”

Giles Reynolds, the head gardener at Friar Park, will be involved with the design.

Councillor Hinton and council administrator Becky Walker will look around Mill Meadows for several possible locations for the garden.

These will then be considered with Mrs Harrison and the charity as well as the Henley in Bloom committee. The final design will be signed off by the full council.

Cllr Hinton said the River & Rowing Museum, which is in Mill Meadows, would also be involved.

Meanwhile, plans to improve a town entrance could receive a cash boost. Henley in Bloom has backed plans to renovate a green area in Bell Street near the mini-roundabout at Northfield End.

The improvements have been suggested by residents. They include erecting a welcome sign, reading: “Henley-on-Thames: the riverside market town home of the Henley Royal Regatta.”

Alternatively, a semi-mature tree, possibly a white beam, could be planted to conceal the back of the existing sign.

The residents have also suggested removing two existing planters and creating two new flower beds — one at either end of the green — as well as possibly installing a public sculpture plinth.

The planting of the beds would be seasonal and low maintenance but neat and attractive and low-level to maintain sight lines for drivers. Henley in Bloom has recommended that the scheme is allocated £2,000 from the town council’s horticultural improvement fund.

Cllr Hinton said: “When we were drawing up our horticultural contracts we created a fund for improvements in the town.

“One of the priorities for using the fund was town entrances such as this one.”

Residents have been asked to find £1,040 in sponsorship to pay for watering the area once it has been transformed.

This will cover until April next year when it will be maintained under the town council’s horticultural contract.

The committee may approach the developer of Northfield House, which is currently being converted from offices into flats.

The decision on the funding will be passed to the recreation and amenities committee. Henley in Bloom is also considering putting a silver birch tree in the planter on the corner of Friday Street and Duke Street.

The 2m tree would be be surrounded by evergreen plants and perennial flowers.

Caroline Langler, who lives in Queen Street and is a member of the committee, came up with the idea and is willing to pay for the tree.

Initially it would remain in place for a year as a trial.

The plan would have to be signed off by Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority.

Mrs Langler said: “At the moment the planter there is really unimpressive. This is a way to start bringing more greenery into the town.”

The tree would be planted next month when the weather has improved and the chance of frost at night is minimal.

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