One of the most charming signs of summer is the sight of the water lilies on Watford’s High Street pond. Once again they are in flower – sulphur-coloured and pink blooms of delicate texture and exquisite symmetry.

Many can remember when the Pond was really a pond. There was a watersplash for horses, and children played with their boats there in the holidays, long before there was a paddling pool in the park.

Then that part of Watford’s High Street was scheduled to be “improved” and the pond was in danger. Some bright councillor suggested it should be filled in and the site used as a parking space. Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed and this brilliant idea was killed.

Today the pond is a distinct asset and helps to add beauty to that end of the town. Many preferred the green rockery, with its tall iris leaves, to the font-like erection which now serves as an ornamental fountain. That was a relic of Watford’s Coronation celebrations. Perhaps we might celebrate the end of the war by giving the Pond a fountain of some artistic merit.

There will, I know, be many who will share with me the wish to say a word of congratulation and thanks to the gardeners of Watford Corporation, who each year give us some bright and cheerful shows of flowers on the beds of the gardens in the vicinity of the Pond, and also now on the island lawn outside the Town Hall’s main entrance. There is always a colourful display of flowers, too, at the entrance to Cassiobury Park.

I know that today in the Dig for Victory campaign the cultivation of vegetables is the vogue, but I do hope there is still a corner in every gardener’s heart for the galaxy of summer flowers that only an English garden can produce.

[From the Watford Observer of June 14, 1940]

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