Elford Hall Gardens – Newsletter 59 – November 2021

Here’s the latest newsletter from the newly certificated ‘outstanding’ community garden project in Elford.  In the last few weeks, everything has turned rather Autumnal but there is still plenty to see at the garden.   The autumn flowering plants still bring colour, the allotments are looking good and the late fruit and veg is still finding its way to the produce table.   Last year’s cider is still available and work is well advanced at producing the 2022 vintage after a really good apple harvest this year.   While it’s so mild, why not make another visit?

You will have read that we are now having to lock the walled area each evening and we are also having to invest in a security system following the theft of our koi carp and the theft of produce from the allotments.   This is a sad indictment of some in today’s society and their selfishness when a free-to-all charity is targeted and abused like this!

One of the positive additions this year has been the appearance of Harley’s Camioncito serving drinks, cake, ice creams and other delights.   Access to quality drinks has been much appreciated by our visitors and it has been nice to have been able to support a local initiative.   As the weather deteriorates, Vicky’s services will not be available so often but she hopes that the Camioncito will appear on Wednesdays (11 – 2.30) and Sundays (11 – 3.30) weather permitting!   If in doubt, ring first on 07934197351

Boules season ends….

The Friday night boules crowd has enjoyed better weather this year and player numbers have increased (even if skill levels haven’t!).   It has been a lovely social atmosphere – boisterous at times and with lots of laughter.   Keenness was such that a few extra nights were scheduled in even after the official season ended!   A really big thank you to June Watkins and Roger Litchfield who have ably undertaken the organisation of the evenings.   Well done, you two.   Roll on next season!

All fine in the vine house?

Work continues to ‘beautify’ the lower section of the old vine house.   Half whisky barrels have been planted up to complement the pots of bright geraniums and petunias.   They should grow to become quite a feature in the future.   The next task will be to repair the crumbling brickwork so if there are any of our readers with skills in this area and who would like to offer help then please, please get in touch!

Peter the Painter presses on…

Pete Kennedy will turn his hand to almost anything!   Currently, he’s on a marathon painting mission to preserve and to add colour to the garden furniture.   A quick splash of paint won’t do for Peter.   He has an engineer’s standards to uphold so every piece gets the full rub down and repair before the paint gets anywhere near to them.   He’s been busy, as you can see and may well finish the job soon!   Pete’s other great quality is to engage our visitors in conversation as they arrive and pass the barn.   Many of the new ‘Friends of the Walled Garden’ have enrolled thanks to the friendly welcome they get from Pete, who is always ready to offer ideas on what to look out for in the garden – and he’s been known to sell the odd bottle of cider too!

Can you help?

In the early days of the project, Sue Thompson created a number of mosaics in the sensory garden.   These have lasted really well but time has begun to take its toll and now repairs are required if the mosaics are to survive.   Sue has retired as a volunteer but if there is anyone out there that fancies having a go at some repair work then please get in touch.   It would be a shame if they were to simply crumble and disappear.   No talent required – just a willingness to have a go!

How observant are you?

So here’s something to test yourself on.   Can you find these items as you walk around the garden?   One is easy, the others a bit more tricky!   Here’s a clue to help you: none of them is very far from the ladybird mosaic pictured above.   See how you get on!

Nature’s bounty

As with every harvest, some crops do well and produce well while others are a little more disappointing but nothing comes without a lot of hard work.   On the volunteer’s allotment, much of this work is done by Peter, Christine (seen here) and Alan.   The last of the 2021 crop is being harvested now.   Look out for items on the produce stall by the Head Gardener’s house.   Once this is done, the annual cycle of work will begin again, clearing the ground ready for spring planting.   There is always a lot to do and our gardeners work really steadily at their task but the results they get are amazing and the superb ‘home grown’ taste is rewards for their diligence.

A fond farewell

Michael & Barbara Sadler have volunteered for many years, concentrating their efforts mostly behind the house in the plant nursery & rear garden.  Recently they have taken the decision to ‘retire’ again and the project owes them a real debt of gratitude, not only for the work they have done but for the support and friendship they have given to other volunteers and for the welcome they always give to visitors.   They will be much missed by all of us and we hope to see them often in the future as visitors.   The project can ill afford to lose such a hard working couple but the passage of time cannot be denied and we all reach the point where we need to throttle back!   Fortunately, this year has seen the arrival of a number of new volunteers who can take on the challenge of keeping the garden ‘outstanding’.   Watch out for more about these new helping hands in future editions….


Well, that’s all from me for now.   Enjoy autumn in the crazy world of Covid and Fuel problems.   It can only get better.

Best wishes to you all, Roger