She said that she had agreed to take on the job because she recognised that someone was needed locally to support the scheme and because she felt passionately about it.
‘I am thrilled to be heading the trust that is to put La Chaire sub-tropical garden back on the Jersey map,’ she said.
‘Gardening is in my blood and what I care about the most.
I passionately believe that this garden has huge potential and is important to Jersey as a whole.’ Mrs Quérée, who has been successful in national gardening competitions and opens her own St Ouen garden to the public, added: ‘Jersey is known as the floral island and this is exactly the investment we need to offer our visitors a garden that will be both unique to the Island and one of international importance.
We have the perfect climate here and it will have the added bonus of providing tourism with visitors in the shoulder months that we always want to encourage.’She said that the first £1.6 million would allow restoration of one side of the valley, but that the ultimate aim – one she was confident would be achieved – was to restore the whole garden to how it was 100 years go.’We’ll be trying to use the same plants that Samuel Curtis used and then, hopefully, to increase on those.
It won’t just be held in time, but will evolve as he would have wanted,’ she said.The gardens, which were created in 1840 by renowned Victorian gardener Samuel Curtis with the help of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, are believed at one time to have contained the most diverse collection of tender exotic plants growing outdoors anywhere in the British Isles.They were rediscovered by chance in 2002 by enthusiast Angie Petkovic, organiser and promoter of the restoration project, who said she was ‘absolutely over the moon’ that Mrs Quérée had agreed to lead the trust.She said that the BBC would be featuring the garden in their series called Hidden Gardens and would be in Jersey filming next week.
That would include filming of members of the Jersey Metal Detectors Society who had already made some interesting finds, she added.Both Mrs Quérée and Miss Petkovic are confident that once the appeal gets underway, it will receive support from Islanders.Miss Petkovic said she had been encouraged following a talk she gave to the Skal Club – mostly members of the tourism industry – because they were so enthusiastic they had already asked to visit the garden and were intent on coming up with fund-raising ideas.