AN INSPIRATION to new gardening volunteers, the engaging Jill Tetlaw swiftly galvanises people into action.
Head gardener at the Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden in Saumarez Park since 2013, Jill is dedicated to conserving era-appropriate practices, reintroducing native plants historically grown in Guernsey, and creating a rewarding environment.
VWKG volunteers Cathy Morgan, Jayne Spicer, Hugh Johnson and Andrew Thompson nominated Jill for the Butterfield-sponsored Conservation Hero of the Year award, saying, ‘as volunteers we see the amount of work she does’.
Jill is responsible for seed sowing and planting, fruit and flowers, vegetable cropping, monitoring healthy growth and all garden activities.
She keenly researches Victorian plants and contacts international horticulturalists to re-instate plants which originated in Guernsey.
‘During lockdown Jill really shone. She organised rotas for watering, juggling numbers of people allowed with the Gatehouse builders on-site and States Works, to prevent the plants perishing in hot weather.’
Ongoing restoration began when the charitable, voluntary Guernsey Botanical Trust formed in 2006 for that purpose.
La Choppe, which usually secures funding, closed due to Covid-19.
‘She organised a hedge veg stall to sell the seedlings and young plants, grown during winter, which provided vital financial support.’
Years of work began to go to seed.
‘Jill watched weeds grow knee-high and worried about the future of the garden.
‘After lockdown, she galvanised volunteers until the garden was presentable for visitors.
‘She instigated meetings to get ideas going again to raise funds.’
Free time and devotion has been given by Jill throughout the years to support this unique project.
‘Jill has been a real inspiration to volunteers, providing a very rewarding activity and making the garden an important part of their lives’
Heritage and culture have been protected through volunteer conservation efforts.
‘Without Jill’s dedication there would be no Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden for the community to enjoy.’