Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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Summer Floral Displays

The Western Garden, Ryde Esplanade c1968

At this cold and dreary time of year, we need to reminisce about something more uplifting, so this is a brief look at some of the wonderful floral displays that the Ryde Borough Council provided in times past.  These old postcard images are a great reminder.

Firstly, we remember the Rose Gardens on the Ryde Esplanade, which were by the pavement opposite the Hovercraft terminal.  In summer the roses were a profusion of beautiful blooms, where a person could sit on one of the many benches placed there, enjoy the surroundings and watch the world go by.  The coaches would be lined up on that stretch of road, with the drivers booking up passengers for round the Island or evening trips to picturesque places.

The ”pièce de resistance” was the Western Esplanade Gardens, the centre piece being the Borough Crest made out in flowers.  That area was always very impressive with so many blooms of all types, the scent from them being very strong.  That was somewhere many people chose to linger in one of the deckchairs, taking in the view of the sea and the train going along the Pier. On the beach would be the donkeys giving rides and the Punch & Judy booth entertaining the children.


Further along in the Eastern Esplanade Gardens flowers were everywhere, around the fountains, along edges of pavements, by the Pavilion and framing the entrance there.  Every way you turned there was a sea of colour.  The roundabout by the gardens had a different centre display each year, for Royal events there would be a large crown depicted, and one year there was a rowing boat filled with brightly coloured plants.

A leisurely walk to Appley was a must, there was another brilliant display of flowers, which would be an encouragement to sit a while to take in the atmosphere, and perhaps enjoy a nice cup of your favourite beverage, before walking along to once again enjoy the delights in Puckpool Park.  It was flowers all the way.

All Credit had to go to the Borough Gardeners for their hard work in keeping the ‘Entrance to our Garden Isle’ looking so good.


Images: Old Postcards, Brian Young
Article: Ann Barrett