Two key features of St Annes’ landmark Ashton Gardens have been restored to their 1920s glory.
Until this spring, little work had been done on the rock and water garden at the town centre attraction since construction in 1925, while the rose garden there had deteriorated, with original trellises and grassed edgings having been lost over the years.
Fylde Council parks staff have pored over old plans and photographs to plan the £25,000 work to restore both sections to their original condition.
In the rock and water garden, repairs have been made to the waterfall after some rocks had become dislodged, other missing rocks have been replaced around the pond edges after being fished out of the water or recovered from the depot and previous haphazard and bodged repairs have been rectified.
Meanwhile, weirs leading from the top pond have been put back in their original place, stepping stones at the bottom of the waterfall have been replaced, with workmen having found the original stones some distance from the waterfall and the top pond has been relined to stop leaks. Work will be undertaken in the autumn as part of normal maintenance to make the bottom pond watertight.
In the rose garden, the long-lost two original trellises have now been replaced as near to the original design as possible, the original rosebeds featuring grassed strips have been restored and the old rose plants and old soil have all been replaced.
Work elsewhere in Ashton Gardens this spring has included improvements to the ‘rocky ravines’ beneath the two footbridges. New compost has been inserted between the rocks and new ferns planted.
Coun Sue Fazackerley, Fylde Council’s cabinet member for Leisure and Culture, said: “The gardens were notable in their day but, over the decades, they became shabby. Many changes were made for reasons no-one now remembers – and often not for the better
“Council staff have done a superb job in investigating how the gardens were originally and then restoring them.
“I am sure that visitors will once again agree that they are a splendid place to visit.
“The rock and water garden is particularly valuable to Ashton Gardens and many residents from Fylde and across the North West will have happy memories of family outings there.
“The town’s burghers made a great effort back in the 1920s when they commissioned the famous Pulham and Son to design the rock and water garden.
“The limestone Pulhamite rocks can’t even be bought these days as they are classed as important geologically, so our workmen have had to hunt down the original rocks. Some were at the bottom of the ponds. It’s great to see them back where they belong.”