A unique garden of poppies has been opened at Wild Place Project to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War and to honour those who lost their lives defending our freedom.
The garden includes more than 100 varieties of poppies including those that grew in the battlefields on the Somme, Ypres and Passchendaele and it is believed to be the first time that so many different kinds have been grown in the same place.
A special ceremony was held to open the garden attended by members of the armed forces, the Lord Lieutenant of Bristol, Peaches Golding, and Filton and Bradley MP, Jack Lopresti.
He said: “It’s amazing, I’ve never quite seen anything quite like it before. It’s very moving, quite inspirational and beautiful.”
Mrs Golding added: “It’s an inspired idea. It’s a perfect setting to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War One.”
The ceremony was also attended by members of the armed forces and the Royal British Legion. The poppy is the legion's symbol of remembrance and the opening of the garden marked the start of its Bristol Poppy Appeal for 2018 which this year is part of a national Thank You campaign to remember all those who have served this country.
Three members of the Buglers Association of The Light Division and Rifles sounded the Last Post before a minute’s silence was held in memory of those who sacrificed their lives to preserve our freedom.
They were watched by more than 60 invited guests, representatives of the Royal British Legion and members of staff and volunteers from Wild Place Project.
The Poppy Sanctuary Garden is a sea of colours and will remain that way as different varieties bloom until mid-October.
Wild Place Project horticulture supervisor Andrew Harrison spent weeks searching websites and contacting specialist growers to find the different kinds of poppies.
He said: “As far as we are aware this is the only place in the country where people will be able to find 100 different varieties of poppies in one place.
“After months of planning and hard work, I’m thrilled with how well it has turned out, to see them in full bloom over the summer months will be spectacular.”
Dr Bryan Carroll, chief executive of Bristol Zoological Society, which owns and runs Wild Place Project, said: “Commemorating the fallen or the armed services is so, so important and to be able to do it on the hundredth anniversary of the end of the First World War is especially significant.”
Entry to the Poppy Sanctuary Garden is free with general admission for all visitors to Wild Place Project.