What’s the project, in a nutshell?
Cannizaro is a much loved Wimbledon community park, and a haven for many hundreds of daily visitors during Covid. But stretched council funds can’t cover the work needed to restore its historic landscape.
That’s why The Friends of Cannizaro Park is organising its first fundraising project, to regenerate the park’s entrance this winter. We’re lucky to have generous help from Chelsea Gold medal-winning landscape designers, Catherine Macdonald and Mark Gregory, who have given their time for free.
We have already raised half the funds needed and are asking for your help to raise the final 50% - £6000 - by the end of October. Any donation, whether small or large, will help us towards our goal. £5 buys a plant; £20 buys a shrub or a climber; and £250 buys a tree. Every donation counts.
Please join us in making this happen!
Okay - tell me more about the project?
This is the entrance as it looks today:
And this is the entrance as we hope it will look after the works are completed:
During lockdown, Cannizaro Park remained open and came into its own as a place of escape and calm for the local community. During summer weekends, almost two thousand adults, children and dogs visited safely, with hundreds visiting on weekdays.
However, our wonderful park needs restoration. Cannizaro is owned and maintained by Merton Council but their stretched budgets cannot extend beyond repairs and basic upkeep. Covid has also placed new demands on the park, for better spacing and extra facilities. The Friends of Cannizaro Park, a registered charity, was set up in 1997 to help with volunteers and fundraising.
The Friends’ priority 2020 project is to restore the main park entrance. Why? Because it is the main access point for visitors and is a popular meeting point for friends and families. However, with little attention for two decades, it’s looking tired and worn: paths cracked; very little planting; and much of what’s left old or struggling. As the only part of the park visible from the road, it gives no hint of the beauty of the park to draw in casual passers-by.
Our plan is to create a tree-lined avenue under-planted with bulbs, with scented shrubs, flowers and climbers providing year-round colour, and new seating around the fountain. As our Covid experience continues, this new project will provide beauty and pleasure to hundreds of people every day.
We’re excited that the design is a win-win for all connected to Cannizaro: a beautiful new entrance space for visitors; a landscape that can be easily maintained; and a restoration appropriate for our historic landscape.
Can you explain more about the costs?
On this project, The Friends of Cannizaro Park are partnering with Merton Council and two Chelsea Flower Show gold medallists. Merton Council will cover essential hard landscaping repairs and money from the Friends can be focussed against much-needed soft landscaping.
The Friends have already raised money to cover 50% of the costs and need a further £6,000 to deliver improvements to the entrance in full. Every penny raised will go towards the planned improvements.
Merton Council will fund: resurfacing the entrance path, repairs to fencing, additional bike racks, and de-compacting existing grass, following high visitor levels during Covid.
With your help, the Friends of Cannizaro Park will fund:
- Two avenues of trees under-planted with bulbs to create a beautiful view and to reflect the park’s important tree collection.
- Trellis and enhanced planting (climbers, shrubs, perennials and bulbs) for the brick walls surrounding the fountain, with additional seating to create a space for relaxation and reflection
- Extension of the yew hedging beyond the fountain through to the main park to support wildlife.
To keep costs down, Friends’ volunteers will carry out the planting work under guidance.
Information posters at the entrance during and 12 months after the project will keep visitors updated about the improvement works and thank all our supporters and partners by name (unless anonymity is preferred).
The Friends of Cannizaro Park (www.cannizaropark.com) is a registered charity (No. 1160982) established in 1997 to preserve and improve Cannizaro Park for the the local community to enjoy.
- We have a band of volunteers who give their time to help with gardening and park maintenance.
- More volunteers put on events and activities to encourage people to discover and enjoy what the park has to offer.
- Yet more volunteers plan and fundraise for our larger restoration projects, of which we aim to complete two each year.
About Cannizaro Park
The park was originally the private grounds of 18th Century Warren House (renamed Cannizaro House in 1841). The Cannizaro estate was sold to Merton Council in 1948 and part of it converted into a public park for the local community.
As the former grounds of a country house, Cannizaro Park is unlike any other municipal park. It has an Italian Garden, herb garden, sunken garden, a rhododendron and azalea dell, a pond, and wide, open lawns perfect for picnics and games. Previous owners built a collection of specimen trees that is now the third most important in London (behind only Kew and Syon Park). Reached via a 100m long entrance way, it is out of view from the road, making it a true hidden gem.
If you are part of our local community and love the variety, tranquility and beauty of Cannizaro Park, please support us. We are entirely volunteer run and every penny raised will go towards this project.
If you are a local resident and don’t know Cannizaro Park, please visit; we have lots for you to explore and enjoy.
Thank you for your support!