A group from Ealing Association for the Blind recently visited the Wolf Fields gardens in Southall for a tour of the gardens, the sensory gardens and the inauguration of the audio description, braille signs and information sheets.
Wolf Fields is a three acre site that previously contained a brickworks – some of the bricks in the construction of Buckingham Palace are thought to have been produced here. Latterly, the site had become a rubbish-strewn wasteland. However, during the past five years, A Rocha, an environmental charity, has transformed the site into an idyllic community garden housing an orchard, pond, fire pit, bird feeding stations and a beehive, among the many wonderful features. Central to the gardens are the allotments, which produce a wide variety of organic fruit and veg the year round. These are lovingly maintained by the Wolf Fields Friends’ volunteer group.
Plans for a sensory garden commenced in 2014 with a competition held across local primary schools to design the layout for the garden. The seven year old winner produced a simple design incorporating a flower with five petals, each petal celebrating one of the senses. The ‘taste’ petal includes herbs such as mint and parsley, the ‘smell’ petal contains fragrant plants such as rosemary and lavender, the ‘touch’ petal includes spiky teasel and velvety lamb’s ear, the ‘sound’ petal includes tall whispering grasses and the ‘sight’ petal contains brightly coloured flowers, such as roses and a cosmos. There is also a tactile area where different textures, such as pebbles and gravel, can be felt underfoot. At the centre of the garden is a central dome which we are involved in contributing plant choices to – the infusion of the different aromas from different species of plant being a priority.
On our arrival, we were welcomed with refreshments by the A Rocha team before a tour of the grounds, where we progressed from one enchantment to the next. The accessible features make visiting the sensory gardens a pleasure for people with a visual impairment. An audio description station is installed alongside the pond, adjacent to which is an information board which includes braille text. We were also provided with large print description sheets which also contained braille descriptions and a raised image plan of the sensory garden. Next to the sensory garden was another board which had more detailed braille information.
To round off our visit we enjoyed delicious rolls and samosas at the picnic table. The gardens really are fabulous and are well worth visiting. Thank you to David and Kailean, Fiona and all the volunteers at Wolf Fields!
If you would like further information about visiting Wolf Fields gardens or are interested in getting involved yourself, please contact the Wolf Fields team on 020 8574 5935 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.