Blog

First week of January 2021

With the nation in ‘lockdown’ once again, it will be a while before we can all get together to tackle the gardens on a Thursday morning. So it’s back to just two or three of us to keep the gardens in shape.

It’s been frosty for the first week of the year and the pond didn’t start to thaw until 9th January!

Despite the cold, we decided to make a start straight after the New Year. First up: Edging!

John’s efforts were very much appreciated by passersby

To our great delight, Snowdrops are already starting to appear, but you have to peer carefully to see them. So for now we have protected them from running kids and stray dogs by placing hoops along the area that will soon turn into a stunning drift of white blooms.

Looking around, the Gardens still have an air of autumn. There are a lot of leaves scattered over the grass, including places where bulbs are emerging. We have cleared them from the area near the library – some of them by hand! So we can start to look forward to spring when the newly planted daffodils will be flowering.

With hairdressers closed, Granny’s curls have nevertheless been pruned – sorry, I couldn’t resist that! This is just one of several popular names for Leycesteria formosa, also known as Himalayan honeysuckle. We have several of these around the Gardens and prune them hard back to just above a bud to keep them in check; they grow very quickly each year.

We have also done some tidying up of flower beds, weeding underneath the Wisteria, and discovering more Snowdrops and a few Aconites that were buried beneath thick clumps of Forget-me-nots in the bed near the pond.

Vandals!

We work hard to keep Old Hall Gardens an attractive open space for all to enjoy. Sadly, there is someone in our community (or someone from outside perhaps?) who believes it is acceptable to trash other people’s efforts and to spoil a place of tranquility.

It takes a lot of hard digging to plant a tree – and just seconds to snap it off and kill it.

A Call to Arms!

There had been a ‘call to arms’ so when Beverly turned up on Thursday 20 August armed with a fierce-looking weapon we thought she must have taken it literally, and we wondered what she was planning! She had brought husband Dick along too, with rake at the ready.

So it was a relief to see that they had come to attack the hedge!

John was busy trimming a very bushy and overgrown ivy tower.

Julie focused on carefully weeding around the cyclamen beneath the yew tree.

Richard and Margaret carried on pruning the Wisteria, which always looks quite wild at this time of year!

Thursday 13 August

It was good to see Lyn back – there was a lot to catch up on as she and Betty did some weeding in the Dragon garden.

Meanwhile John did a thorough job of clearing up around the compost bins.

Thursday 6 August

We carried on trimming the Wisteria along the wall behind the Library, and Julie offered to do some gentle weeding – but she pulled up rather more than she’d bargained for and nearly fell over backwards in her efforts to pull out these enormous roots of Alkanet!

Meanwhile, the Nottages busied themselves on the Ramparts: weeding, and dead-heading the Veronica to encourage a second flush of flowers.

We were delighted to see fruit appearing on the Quince! You’ll find it trained along the wall near the Library.

The Teasels are doing well this year and are standing proud by the entrance to the Library – which has recently opened its doors again since the Covid lockdown.

The end of “Furlough”!

30 July 2020

At last, more volunteers are returning to work in Old Hall Gardens!

It was Margaret’s first day back after a long absence, and we even had a new recruit: Beverly Tonkin. Both were busy cutting back the Cotoneaster alongside the library. Richard, meanwhile, was up the ladder cutting back the Wisteria.

It was high time for this area to be tackled: the Wisteria has been sending out its shoots in all directions and long seed pods are forming.

John was busy mending more benches.

After hedging comes the edging!

Having spent hours cutting the hedge last week, John felt compelled to tidy the edge of the grass below which now really stood out like an eyesore. This particular stretch has not been tackled for months and it was spreading over the path. As always, there’s still more to do another day.

Thursday 4 June 2020

It was great to see Rob and Linda Nottage back in their natural habitat: on the ramparts!

Elsewhere there was plenty to do. The Forget-me-nots have finished flowering and are looking unsightly. We don’t put these on the compost or we’d have them springing up everywhere!

It was also time to cut back the Hellebores to the base of their leaves; these are fine to add to the compost bin.

Just as we were packing up Glyn wandered into the gardens, camera slung over his shoulder. He took some photos (see below) and promised to come back next week to do some work!

Philadelphus, also known as ‘Mock orange’ for its wonderful fragrance
Clematis
Wild flower meadow

A walk with Linda Nottage

Take this virtual guided walk through Old Hall Gardens with one of our volunteers and keen photographer: Linda Nottage. Below are some of the things that caught her eye on 1st June.

Alliums and Lupins
Climbing rose – New dawn
Daphne
Gooseberry sawfly larvae having a good munch!
Purple elder blossom
Pink Astrantia

Poppies popping up

Careful weeding under the Wisteria has allowed a mass of self-seeded poppies from last year to come through. A bit more weeding today should give them space to grow further.