On March 15th 2018 the inaugural meeting for the “WGC Station Adoption Group” was held. 5 years later the group now called the AllAboarders is still going from strength to strength, with a history of proud accomplishments to look back on. Working together with GTR contractors and station staff, and with support from sponsors, here are some of the highlights of our achievements:
2 raised beds with seating areas (platforms 1&2)
12 troughs by the station buildings
2 large flat beds on platforms 1&2
Sleeper edging for original beds on platforms 3&4
Heritage gallery created in the waiting rooms
Hundreds of bags of new compost and soil conditioner added
Renovation of mature planting including pine trees, pampas grass, laurel hedges & roses
3 Christmas trees decorated – with 1 winning the St Francis tree festival!
The volunteers have given more than 1600 hours of their time in all weathers (and safely through the difficult covid period) to water, weed, plant & prune. An immeasurable amount of time has also gone into planning, co-ordination, applying for grants, securing sponsorship, creating marketing materials and maintaining our online presences. Our thanks goes to everyone involved in any way at all.
There’s still plenty to do whether its a big project or weekly planting maintenance – here’s to the next 5 years!
As Christmas approaches the All Aboarders would like to extend the warmest of festive wishes to all our supporters. The team achieved so much in 2022 so we would like to toast to all involved especially our volunteers, station and facilities staff, and sponsors – cheers!
We once more decorated a tree for the St Francis Christmas Tree Festival. With our twin themes of rail travel and sustainability the team crafted decorations from travel postcards, old train tickets and items from the garden. The beautiful tree topper is a dried allium seed head carefully preserved by a volunteer. The living tree was wheelbarrowed back to the station after the festival and now brightens up the waiting room for passengers.
The station recently benefited from another installation for our heritage gallery in the platform 3 waiting room. We were delighted to be loaned an original illuminated station sign by Malcolm Cowan, who rescued it when it was decommissioned. The sign is on display above the vintage travel posters. You can see a photo of the sign when it was in use at the bottom of this page.
The All Aboarders were invited to join the local WGC Rotary Club quiz night to raise money for local, national and international charities. The Rotary Club has been a close friend and sponsor of ours, so of course we took the opportunity to reciprocate. We joined 12 other teams in a 10 round quiz, punctuated by an impressive ploughman’s supper, a raffle, games and lots of camaraderie.
As we were having so much fun it seemed like an unexpected twist for us to come out on top of the leader board (especially as there was only 1 plant question). So a big WELL DONE to the team for winning, and bringing home the wine!
We were very pleased to be approached by one of our partners Garden on a Roll with the offer of plants to help fill some of our larger beds.
The beds on platforms 3/4 were enhanced with edging a year ago by rail contractors, and then filled with compost by volunteers in spring. They feature some of the old (original?) roses, the wonderful pine trees, witch hazel and some other mature shrubs. But there was still plenty of space for more!
Antony Henn, local nurseryman and owner of Garden on a Roll came to a volunteer session with a van full of plants. He used his expert knowledge to arrange the plants around the various beds, explaining which would prefer each position and any specific plant care. We know we can trust Antony as the beds on the opposite platforms that he planted up a number of years ago look fabulous.
The volunteers worked to dig, plant and water in all the plants. We weren’t sure how many we received to start with so counted the pots after everything was in. The grand total was 103 plants! We are very grateful for the generous and continued support from a local company.
This year, like the rest of the country, we enjoyed a glorious long hot summer with little rain. This called for extra watering sessions to keep out flowers in tip top condition, especially for new plants. In the peak of the hot weather the volunteers rallied with a watering rota every other day. The teams favourite new “gadget” of a hosepipe length fitted to the taps really helped prevent sore backs and wet arms!
Our perseverance paid off and we were rewarded with happy, beautiful plants all around.
A huge ✨THANK YOU✨ to all those that turned out to make the Welwyn Garden City station Makeover Day a grand success. It was so lovely to be able to bring everyone together for the first time since 2019.
Andrew Chillingsworth, GTR Community Engagement Officer, joined us and said of the day:
It was great to support the ‘Welwyn Garden City All Aboarders’ with their makeover day. This group of volunteers do a wonderful job all year round, keeping the gardens and waiting rooms in an immaculate condition, providing a welcoming and colourful environment that is highly appreciated by customers and staff.
The All Aboarders volunteers were joined by GTR & Network rail staff, local councillors, rotary club members and new prospective volunteers. Together we planted out donated plants (thanks to Prisca for these), weeded, pruned, & watered.
The facilities staff brought their expertise to paint posts & troughs and put up new signs. This really smartened everything up and the new paint makes the plants stand out.
The station was also reunited with one of it’s original light up platform signs, kindly donated by Malcolm who saved it when it was decommissioned years ago. We are hoping to display this with our heritage gallery in the waiting room on platform 3/4.
Last but not least, a big thanks to the staff of Marchio’s cafe on platform 1/2 who provided drinks, pastries and lunch for the volunteers on the day.
If you couldn’t make it to our makeover day but would like to join us, you are more than welcome on one of our regular volunteer sessions. We meet on alternate Thursday and Saturday mornings, 10am-12pm. To find out more please Contact Us or join and message through our Facebook group.
Have you wondered about volunteering with us, or wanted to find out what it was like? Join us on the 29th June at the WGC Station for a session to enjoy the gardens, a spot of gardening and light refreshments.
This follows from a successful makeover day in 2019 which saw a great turnout, lots of tasks completed and a lovely day had by all.
What? The All Aboarders and friends will be joined by GTR workers to perform tasks such as painting, planting, weeding and watering. All tools and light refreshments will be provided
When? Wednesday 29th June 2022 at 9:45am, for a couple of hours
Where? Welwyn Garden City Train Station. Meet at the shed on Platforms 1/2 North
The All Aboarders are back at the station after a winter break. We have got stuck in with a couple of exciting projects, as well as enjoying the beautiful bulbs that are coming up all around the station.
John Ystumllyn Rose
The group entered a competition to receive plants from Harkness Roses in celebration of the first rose named after a black gardener – 18th century Welshman John Ystumllyn. We were successful in our application and received 24 mixed colour roses, plus one of the new John Ystumllyn yellow varieties. Roses are a very traditional part of public planting in WGC so we are thrilled to continue this at the station. Work has begun to clear space to showcase these, with the first batch going into the raised bed on Platform 1/2 South. We plant these roses in celebration of the brilliant diversity of gardeners and volunteers.
New Beds & Compost
Last year GTR edged the beds on platform 3/4 using wooden sleepers which were then treated for longevity. These beds roughly follow the original layout of the station and will help us to establish more plants in these area. GTR also cut the huge hedges here back to more manageable sizes, which really showcases the lovely scots pines. We are now filling these beds with lovely local organic compost and soil conditioner from Equigrow ready for some new plants! As you can imagine the logistics for all of this on a working train station can be challenging, so many thanks to all involved in this operation.
The All Aboarders have once again entered the Christmas Tree Festival hosted by St Francis Church, WGC.
Our Tree is entitled “On Track for Christmas” and is decorated with recycled items such as train tickets & pine cones
Please come along to support the event if you can – Saturday 5th Dec 12-6pm Sunday 6th Dec 12-5pm
Full details can be found on the flyer at the bottom of this page.
The living tree which we decorated for the train station waiting room last year was planted in a platform bed where it thrived. This has been carefully dug up and potted on to be used this year at the festival.
After the festival it will again cheer up the waiting room for travellers on platforms 3/4.
The All Aboarders would like to thank all our volunteers and supporters for another great year at WGC station, we hope all have a festive Christmas season and wonderful New Year!