Garden benefits from charity advice

July 21, 2021

Green fingered volunteers and members of Southend in Sight were delighted to meet some of the Friends of Leigh Library Gardens recently to discuss how to revive the sensory bed in the Gardens.

The sight loss charity, based in Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff was contacted by the Friends of Leigh Library Gardens with a request to help restore and improve the planting and arrangement of the raised bed behind Leigh Library which was first planted in 1959 and was then known as an aromatic garden. It was presented to the Gardens by the Rotary Club of Leigh on Sea. 

Community fundraiser Catherine Hodgson from Southend in Sight brought four keen gardeners along to advise on the revamp: Anne Morris, Keith Dowson, Jackie & Geoff Blackledge. They met with Valerie Morgan, Chair of the Friends, Sally Dickinson and other volunteers who were working in the Gardens. They were able to give some valuable advice and ideas on new species to plant and where to put them and what colours to work with.

Valerie Morgan said “It was so useful to meet Geoff and the other members from Southend in Sight to really understand what a visually impaired person would benefit from in the Gardens. As they pointed out many sensory gardens are created for those who cannot see at all, but those with some vision may be able to see and appreciate plants with bright colours, so we need to think about scent and colour. A great idea they suggested was to include some scented ground cover for the path. We also have an opportunity to make a more overall sensory experience in the area against the library building behind the seating, with some brighter foliage and perhaps brightly coloured and scented roses. We are very excited to work with Southend in Sight to improve this important facility in the Gardens.”

Catherine Hodgson said “Our visually impaired volunteers were delighted to offer their assistance in such a worthwhile project.  It was lovely to meet the volunteers from Friends of Leigh Library Gardens and see them hard at work improving this wonderful community space.  We look forward to working together over the coming months to help create a space for all to enjoy."

To find out more about the Friends of Leigh Library Gardens and get involved with revamping the sensory garden or take part in the regular work parties, email

To contact Southend in Sight, call 01702 342131 or email The charity’s base at 117 Hamlet Court Road is only open for booked appointments but the charity’s shop is open.


Note: If comment section is not showing please log in to Facebook in another browser tab and refresh.