Signs of spring amid the snow

11th February 2021

February has seen snow in much of the country, including here at the Royal Hospital. Our Grounds Manager, Ric Glenn, explains the impact of the weather and shares the first signs of spring. 

“Aesthetically, I love the snow as it links the wider landscape. The wintery spell does impact the grounds team in a number of ways, however. 

We have been busily spreading salt grit on garden paths in Ranelagh Gardens and the South Grounds. Other teams have been working on the paths of the main site, to reduce the risk of slippery ice building up. 

The cold weather is a blessing in disguise, as it halts growth of grass and weeds which means we can focus on winter rejuvenation pruning of shrubs. 

Last spring, we planted 13,000 snowdrops in north Ranelagh Gardens, to complement the many established in the south. These are now, flowering, despite the conditions. It’s a romantic sight, although as they’re the same colour as snow they become somewhat invisible! 

Our ultimate aim is to link the north and south of the gardens with a snowdrop spectacular. With a view to this snowdrop spectacular, I have ordered another 10,000 bulbs for delivery in the near future.

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Brompton Cemetery Seed Sowing
Sowing wildflowers in memory of past Chelsea Pensioners

On 6 May, Chelsea Pensioners and members of the Royal Hospital’s grounds team joined representatives from the Royal Parks, the Royal Parks Guild and the Friends of Brompton Cemetery to sow a patch of wildflower seeds in Brompton Cemetery as part of the Battlefields and Butterflies initiative.

Chelsea Pensioner Centenarians
100 years old and still going strong

Recent research backs up the anecdote that Chelsea Pensioners not only live considerably longer than their peers outside (by over five years, on average), but that their lifetimes once they come to the Royal Hospital are extending, year on year. This strongly suggests that the care and community here contribute to greater longevity – as well as improving quality of life. 


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