Elford Hall Gardens – Newsletter 48 – September 2019

This will be just a short newsletter – you will be relieved to know – but we have a bit of good news to pass on to all of our Friends, volunteers and supporters.

Outstanding Again!

You will know that each year we enter for a Royal Horticultural Society competition called ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ which is especially design for volunteer community projects like ours.   Judge Paul Ash visited us in July and a few weeks ago, volunteers Darren Lovett and Mike Collins went to the Award Ceremony to find out how we had got on.     The essential bit for us is the bit on the award certificate that says …. Level 5 – Outstanding!   Praise indeed from the nation’s leading horticultural experts.   Of course, we think it well deserved but it’s nice to have it confirmed by the experts!   The project achieved a score of 91/100 – so a bit of room for improvement for next year, I suppose!

Darren & Mike collect the Award

I received a copy of our judge’s comments this morning and in his introduction, Paul Ash wrote Elford Hall Garden is a superb project with a very enthusiastic group of volunteers.   Many surprises await you as you walk around the gardens.   It has a superb sensory garden –  giving you the Land of the Giants experience; the herbaceous border with all plants donated; the tranquil picnic area by the river.   A hidden gem”.

Well done to everyone who contributes to the ongoing success of the Walled Garden Project.   You should be proud!

Pressing ahead….

Our first foray into cider making has been a great success with significant numbers of bottles already purchased so  this year’s vintage has almost all been sold.   We have a small number of bottles left and will be bottling around 100 bottles which will be available for Christmas and then it will be all gone!   I’m not a great cider drinker, but reports back from those that are have been very good.   It’s certainly strong!   I heard today that legally to be called cider, the drink must contain a minimum of 28% apple juice.   Amazing how low that % is.   Well, our cider contains 100% apple juice so no wonder it’s 5.8 proof!

Vintage 2020 is underway….

Already we have begun to press both apples and pears to get production of next years’ cider and perry underway.   Currently, we are mostly using decent quality windfalls as the main apple harvest is not quite upon us yet.

The Project will be happy (and grateful) if you wish to donate any of your unwanted apples.  We can use them to make next year’s cider!  Please leave them by the barn at the walled garden and, if you want your container/bag back then please label it so that you can identify it.   If you bring along a clean bottle then you might be able to take some lovely juice home with you!

 Above, Loz Watton is drawing quite a crowd as he presses the apples destined to be the 2020 vintage cider.    Bring it on!

Let’s make a date for 2020……

We still have a small number of our limited edition 2020 calendars for sale at £5.   Ask about these on your next visit.   You can also order by putting your details and your money into an envelope and popping it into the donations box which we empty daily.   They’re perfect as small gifts for friends and family and you won’t find cheaper.

Fresh as you like – and fully organic too!

Produce is now coming thick and fast from our allotments.   Currently we have French and Runner Beans, potatoes, onions and roots and very soon the produce table will be groaning under the weight of fresh apples (some rare varieties) and pears.   There are also jams available – one villager on Facebook was telling us how delicious the damson jam is!   Thelma is working hard in the plant area so keep your eyes open for her plants which will soon be available too!

Best wishes, Roger