We were delighted to receive an invitation from the Royal Parks Guild for our apprentice gardeners to take part in the creation of this exhibition project at Osborne House.
During the unveiling ceremony on 12 June one of our apprentices, George Tyler, joined with two Osborne House trainees, Catherine Mawdesley and Rose Greves, to read a poem by the Isle of Wight poet, David Thornton. George worked on the landscaping and planting of the area with children from The Bay CE Primary School in Sandown.
The new area in the Walled Garden entitled ‘Battlefield to Butterflies’ commemorates the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War and is in remembrance of the garden and ground staff who worked in the Royal Parks and died in the war. The gardens at Osborne House were part of the Royal Parks at that time.
Battlefields to Butterflies
The battlefields of World War One,
A shell-shocked no man’s land,
Where Death walked through the trenches,
And took each soldiers hand.
A battered, shattered, hostile land,
Of sorrow, pain and fear,
And prayers that soon the war would end,
Perhaps by Spring next year.
Then in this muddy battlefield,
A butterfly appears,
Wings of white, with bright red tips
Of blood wept through the years.
It flits across the British trenches,
Over no man’s land,
And rests upon a Gatling gun,
Close to a German’s hand.
The soldier pauses for a while,
To gaze upon this sight,
This fragile beauty fills his heart,
With joy far from the fight.
And now so many years have passed,
In time the land has healed,
For seeds of peace have been released,
Across the battlefield.
Poppies grow where blood was shed,
And dance against blue skies,
Now nature’s forces are deployed,
Six million butterflies.