ONE of Towneley Park’s crown jewels is set to return for 2013 – and it will be surrounded by dahlias made by famous by a Burnley horticultural legend.

Plans are being pulled together by the Friends of Towneley Park to reinstate the Bird Bath Fountain to the venue’s Italian Garden, thanks to a £12,800 Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

And dahlias, created by Joseph Barwise, who ran a nursery in the park in the 1930s, will take centre stage around the water feature, and two restored bronze deer statues.

Barwise now has a car park at Towneley named after him, where his nursery stood, from where he submitted his first flowers to the Royal Horticultural Society around 1930.

His varieties regularly received merit awards and he was given a gold medal by the National Dahlia Society for his ‘Fortune’ bloom.

A Friends spokesman said: “One of his greatest honours was the coveted Victoria Medal awarded by the RHS in 1958 for outstanding services to horticulture.

“He named one of his dahlias ‘Burnley’ in recognition of the award. A further 28 were named after his nursery, from ‘Towneley Cheer’ in 1933 to ‘Towneley Lily’ in the 1960s.

“Many were also named after local areas and villages.”

The Friends group has been searching for Barwise dahlias to incorporate into their spring beds and council parks staff recently sourced a selection for planting.

Meanwhile a research workshop for the fountain project is planned for February, with an open history day scheduled for April.

An information leaflet and history walk will be formulated for summer 2014.