Since our first blog ‘Ready, Set, Grow!’ we have made much progress on both the Dig for Victory garden and wildflower garden. Here we outline some of the progress made, as well as some of the obstacles we faced.

From the outset, we knew the chosen areas for the two gardens would need considerable work. This was to make the ground both ready for planting and accessible for visitors.

One of our first steps was to remove the huge tree stump located right in the middle of our soon-to-be vegetable garden. Thankfully, we have in our working reserve collection a Foden Recovery Vehicle, which came in very handy to remove the stump. We recognised the potential for insects to thrive in the stump, so it will feature in our wildflower garden as an insect hotel! 

A large recovery vehicle is in the background with a large tree stump pulled out of the ground in front. A large hole is visible in the ground where it once was.

Not what you’d normally expect a REME Recovery Vehicle to be towing; it did the job well. We filled the hole with the soil removed to level the rest of the area.

We are very grateful for the support of the REME Corps during this project. Holdover troops (soldiers between training courses or awaiting assignments to units) from 8 Training Battalion, MOD Lyneham, have undertaken much of the groundwork.

The troops cut down overgrown grass, turned over soil and levelled the ground. They then created paths around the Dig for Victory garden, as well as a seating area in the middle of the wildflower garden. Finally, they built the planters in which the vegetables will grow and moved them into position.

A rotovator machine is operated by a soldier over soil, two others are waiting to manually re-work the soil in the background.

The troops hard at work preparing the ground for the Dig for Victory Garden. 

Wooden planters are laid out in rows in a rectangular area. 6 men are standing behind them. A tree stump, further garden area and the museum building are visible behind.

Looking very proud with their handiwork, as they should!

In the wildflower garden, we have planted mature plants and acquired seeds for wildflowers typical of a Wiltshire meadow. Our plans for this garden incorporate plants with specific sensory features to surround the seating area. We hope this will benefit people of all ages with sensory processing difficulties.

 A grassy area with some soil uncovered, a person's leg is just visible behind a rotavator machine which is digging over the earth. Museum building in background

The wildflower garden in its preparation stage.

We have given our Remembrance bench a new home in the wildflower garden. Some of our partners are soon to make another bench from recycled wood, to sit on the other side of the seating area.

Looking Forward

The next steps with our gardens will focus on planting. The Dig for Victory garden planters will be filled and appropriate vegetable plants put in for the winter months, following the original ‘Dig for Victory’ guide.

Wildflower seeds will be scattered in the wildflower garden. We will also be working on moving in our insect hotels and bird boxes to provide homes for new wildlife.

So watch this space for future updates and to see our gardens bloom!­­­­­­­­­­­­­

We would like to give thanks to all our wonderful partners for their support in this project. We especially acknowledge the Green Grant provided to us by South West Museum Development, with thanks to funding from Arts Council England.

Logos aligned horizontally: left to right: South West Museum Development, Arts Council England, UK Mens Shed Association, Wickes, Wiltshire Wood Recycling, RSPCA Oak & Furrows, ASDA.