Elford Hall Gardens – Newsletter 33 – September 2016

 Busy times at the gardens

What a busy summer we’ve been having at the walled garden!   Preparations for the Real Ale event meant that we were not able to do all of the work we’d have liked to do on the gardening side of things.   After the clear up, it was all hands to the pump to prepare things for the 2 weddings we have hosted since the festival.   The consequence of that was that some areas of the garden were looking a bit neglected (we thought) then the heat and dry weather of August hit us and we spent valuable volunteering time watering distressed plants!   Needless to say, the ‘weeds’ coped brilliantly with the weather, produced masses of seed and now we have a mountain of weeding to do.   Sometimes, it seems that you just can’t win.

Dig this!

The allotments are looking great this year thanks to a lot of hard work being put in by allotment holders and volunteers on the 2 project allotments.   Soft fruit has done well, as have all manner of vegetables and it has been difficult to keep up with harvesting the crops!   We now have a regular group who visit the produce table to take away the fresh goodies.   The plums were good this year and apple harvest will soon be upon us.

The allotments looking better than ever this year.
The allotments looking better than ever this year.
Here's Reg trying to keep on top of the runner bean harvest ........No chance!!!
Here’s Reg trying to keep on top of the runner bean harvest ……..No chance!!!

If you haven’t yet tasted stuff from the produce table then give it a try – it is fresh, free from chemicals and generally we grow varieties that aren’t normally available in the shops and which are known for their taste.   Shoppers generally leave a donation in the box and their generosity helps to keep the garden running.

Around the Garden

When the Royal Horticultural Society judges came this year they said that they were ‘blown away’ by the progress we’d made in 12 months. This is always nice to hear as we don’t really notice fully our progress because we are here every week.   We will get the results of our judging before the end of the month.   Fingers crossed!

Work inside the house has been put on one side while there is better weather and much to do outside.   The library seems to be operating well and is appreciated by visitors.   It has been nice to see grandparents and their grandchildren enjoying the garden and especially the library. The needlecraft group continue to work on their Elford tapestry and will be delighted if more villagers decide to join them.   Ring Sue on 01827383592 for more information.

Julie hard at work dead-heading the roses.
Julie hard at work dead-heading the roses.
Echium Snowtower attracted a lot of attention from visitors (and the bees!).
Echium Snowtower attracted a lot of attention from visitors (and the bees!).

Right above, we see Julie Cox dead-heading roses in the rose garden – a bit like painting the Forth Bridge!

Above left, is one of our giant Echiums.   These have attracted many questions this year and seed should soon be available if you fancy growing your own. Below left is Thelma’s stumpery which is now looking good and below right is part of the giant’s jungle bed – living up to its name as you can see!   Peter Kennedy, with granddaughter Lara and friend Lily, has undertaken a refurbishment of the Giant’s matchbox now in glorious Technicolor and back in the giant’s garden for all to admire.   Laurence (below) has been making willow fencing to finish off the area around the boathouse.

Thelma's stumpery taking shape.
Thelma’s stumpery taking shape.
The Jungle looking healthy in the sensort garden.
The Jungle looking healthy in the sensort garden.

Laurence - resident willow weaver.

Scarecrows invade Elford

It was that time again and the people of Elford turned out nearly 100 scarecrows for the annual (and highly successful) festival.   Sue Watton worked her magic at the walled garden and produced an army of stuffed specimens to delight visitors.   Right, we see the BFG who settled himself at the entrance to the Giant’s Garden once all of the visitors had gone home and life returned to what passes for normal in Elford! The marquee now houses several scarecrows in an arrangement reminiscent of a doctor’s waiting room.   Say aaaaaarh!   The Walled Garden Wailers even turned out to sing at the Village Hall on the Sunday, thus ensuring a rapid turnover in people occupying the tables at the outdoor café!

The BFG guards the sensory garden these days!

The BFG guards the sensory garden now!

Work has begun on tidying up the area between the barn and the house.   This badly drained area has been improved by the laying of a limestone ‘road’ surface and left over material is now being used to improve the wheelchair friendliness of the path through the woods by the river.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road
Follow the Yellow Brick Road




Looking forward

Meetings will soon begin to set up the 2016 Bonfire Spectacular which I hope you’ll be attending on Saturday November 5th.   It will be the usual great evening out for the whole family (if the weather gods smile on us).   In a few weeks we’ll also be having a forward planning meeting to look at future plans and needs and I’d welcome your ideas and suggestion about what direction you’d like to see the walled garden moving in and how you think we can improve on what we have already achieved.   We have some ideas already but you can’t have too many good ideas so get in touch!

You may have noticed that our volunteers are now wearing bottle green shirts with the walled garden logo nicely embroidered.   I tried to get Tom Daly to model one for a photo for the newsletter but he was too busy!   If anyone out there would like to buy one for £5 to help promote the garden then please contact me and I’ll see what I can do.

Best wishes, Roger