Saumarez Park is the largest public park in Guernsey. Popular with families, it has many facilities including the National Trust of Guernsey Folk and Costume Museum, a Café and a recently refurbished children’s playground.
The Park is well looked after and boasts large grassed areas and a variety of trees and shrubs as well as beautiful, formal flowerbeds and rose gardens.
Saumarez Park plays host to many events during the course of the year. It is the home of the Classic Car Show, the Viaer Marchi, the Royal Show, the Donkey Derby and the North Show with the Battle of Flowers.
The park is also home to the Victorian Walled Garden, once part of the de Saumarez family’s private estate and now owned by the States of Guernsey. Many plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables are grown in the garden and glasshouses. Visitors are welcome to visit and have a chat with the volunteers every day between March and September.
The main building in the Park, currently St John’s Residential Home, was started in 1721/22 by the Le Marchant family. By marrying Martha le Marchant in 1788, Admiral de Saumarez became the owner. It is assumed that his higher status involved a larger domestic establishment with a greater need for vegetables and fruit, and hence the Large walled Garden, created probably around 1830.
The adjoining Small walled Kitchen Garden, almost certainly the original Le Marchant Kitchen Garden, will in due course be restored.
The Guernsey Botanical Trust was formed in 2006, when its first project, restoration of the Large Garden to its Victorian heyday, began. This restoration is based on common sense and on a master plan devised by Peter Thoday in 1996. The trust is growing fruit and vegetables of the Victorian era including fruit trees, the first of which, a cherry, was planted by the then Lieutenant Governor, Sir Fabian Malbon KBE.
The trust has restored “the Lemon House” which includes citrus fruits plus tomatoes, cucumbers, melons and seedlings for the garden and the Trust will soon build “The Orchard House” for potted fruit trees and then the “The Vine House”. The “Head Gardener’s Office” has also been rebuilt and doors and gates replaced.