Feb 2005 - Centenary Garden

As part of Rotary's Cenenary, Seagate Rotary and Irvine Rotary ran a joint project to refurbish the town's Memorial Garden.

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Rotary Memorial planting – far end.

The layout of the planting bed by the new plinth brings together two themes - Rotary in its Centenary year, and Remembrance Day. 

The symbol for Rotary is a 6-spoked golden yellow wheel set on a dark blue background.  Taking the plinth and its plaques as its central hub, the yellow-leaved Lonicera nitida ‘Baggesen’s Gold’ forms the three spokes of a half wheel. 

The dark background of the wheel on the Rotary emblem is given by Cotoneaster microphyllus, a low growing shrub with red berries.  Its dark foliage will drape over the low retaining wall and frame the small individual memorial crosses that can be placed here.

Holly trees are planted at the ends of the three spokes of the Rotary wheel, to give height to the garden and frame the plinth.  Their berries will attract wildlife, but as the Christmas carol reminds us - “The holly bears a berry, As red as any blood”.  So we might be reminded of the blood shed by those whom the Memorial commemorates.

At the outer sections of the bed, the plants have been chosen to ensure the garden looks well on Remembrance Day.  Escallonia ‘Crimson Spire’ will normally still be flowering in November in Ayrshire, its crimson flowers chosen to respect the colour of the red poppies that will be laid nearby.  At the rear of the bed, Prunus lusitanica or Portugal Laurel will give a tall evergreen backdrop, with red petioles or leaf stalks – again, the same colour as the poppies and the blood-red Holly berries.

Hydrangea petiolaris and Ivy (Hedera colchica ‘Paddy’s Pride’ or H. helix ‘Goldheart’) are planted on the side walls, to add interest to the large area of stonework.

Finally, the beds behind the two seats at the plinth are planted with theyellow hybrid tea rose "Heart of Gold", bred by James Cocker & Sons in Aberdeen in honour of the Rotary Centenary Year in 2005.  It has a delicate perfume that visitors pausing for reflection in the Memorial Garden can enjoy.  For every rose bush, an amount has been donated directly to Rotary’s own charity (Rotary Foundation) to assist with the funding of many worthy causes worldwide.  Together with the Memorial Garden, this reflects the Rotary toast at every meeting “To Peace and Rotary the World Over”.

Fiona Lee