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arnos lodge map

This Sunday, for the eighth year in succession, a rather special garden is open to the public, raising money for the upkeep of the plants in Broomfield Conservatory.

The garden belongs to Elizabeth Dobbie, who more than anyone was responsible for turning an attractive but almost empty building into a wonderful place with a fascinating collection of plants.

You have a chance to see the Conservatory twice a week (Wednesday and Sundays), but only one more opportunity to visit Elizabeth's own garden, as this is the last year that she'll be opening it to the public.

Elizabeth's garden will be open from 2pm to 5pm. Admission is £2 and there will be plants and tea and cakes on sale, all proceeds going to the Conservatory.

On a personal note, I owe a debt of gratitude to Elizabeth for her work in setting up the conservatory committee and the team of volunteers who tend to the conservatory and open it to the public.  Before my first visit there I knew only four or five people in Palmers Green, but while I was there someone asked if I would be interested in volunteering as a steward.  I couldn't think of an excuse quickly enough so ended up meeting and greeting visitors once or twice a month and getting to know the other volunteers.  As a result  I now have many local friends.  It also led to me taking over the Friends of Broomfield Park website and then this one.  So if you're thinking of volunteering yourself, don't hesitate, you won't regret it!

Elizabeth Dobbie and the garden at Arnos Lodge

Geraldine Anwar, secretary of the Friends of Broomfield Park conservatory group, tells the story of the garden of Elizabeth's home - which, uniquely, is located within Arnos Park.

broomfield conservatory volunteersBroomfield Conservatory volunteers welcome in 2018. Elizabeth Dobbie is in the centre, showing off an award from Enfield in Bloom

Arnos Park Lodge is tucked away in a corner of Arnos Park opposite the tennis courts.  If you travel from Southgate, you may have glimpsed the house and garden as the London-bound Piccadilly line train approaches Arnos Grove Station.

When Elizabeth purchased the property in 2006 it was the Park Keeper’s house and very much part of the park.  The right side of the garden was hardstanding and used to store parks’ vehicles.  Elizabeth has turned this area into a gravel garden and attractive storage area.  The bin stores have a living roof.  Most of the garden was laid out to lawn.  The pond was already in place but was completely overgrown.  In 2007 Elizabeth started to transform the garden.

livingroofElizabeth has created a "living roof" on top of the bin storage area

Elizabeth said ,“I was living in Camden in a terraced house with a typical small inner city garden. It was always my ambition to have a large garden when I retired.”   Prior to her retirement Elizabeth went on courses run by the RHS and became a qualified horticulturist.  Initially her aim was to get part time work. In the end all her time and energy went into her own garden and then volunteering in Broomfield Park.

rosearchviewLooking through the rose arch in Elizabeth's garden

Elizabeth was one of the founder members of Friends of Broomfield Park committee.  The Council refurbished the Conservatory in 2010 with no plans for its future.  Elizabeth was persuaded to lead the team of volunteers who set out to create a fully planted and functioning Conservatory.  Her knowledge of plants and their care has been invaluable.  As well as the planting, Elizabeth has been involved in significant improvements.  She helped to track down the railings from the Palmers Green triangle which were then refurbished and installed in front of the Conservatory, enhancing its appearance.

pondviewThe pond in the garden of Arnos Lodge

Elizabeth has been opening her garden to the public since 2011.  It has been a significant fund raiser for the Conservatory. The seven openings have raised a total of £2,800.  All good things have to come to an end.  We would like this year to be special as a thank you to Elizabeth for all the effort she has put in over the years.  If you would like the chance to see a unique garden do come along on Sunday 24th June from 2.00-5.00pm 

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