MAY/JUN 2017 MUSINGSBack to the grapevine


Gardening Volunteer at Tatton Park Walled Kitchen Garden, Knutsford, Cheshire.

Bright and cheery dandelions and graceful cow parsley line the lanes and lift the spirit, as does the glorious sunshine. Everywhere is very dry with grass browning.

The Team spent much of the day mulching L-border in Charlotte’s Garden and sprucing up the shrubberies.

Potato planting continues, and sowing rows of peas in trenches, with holly sprigs laid on top of the peas before mounding the soil over the rows – hopefully the field mice will have pricked noses should they try to pinch the peas.

Hot, hot, hot. Shade was much in demand, and the fruit tree beds by north-facing walls were popular. ‘Miles’ of edging to be done in the Orchard, and weed growth removed from the Box hedging surrounding the areas of lawn. The wild flower beds are being prepared for sowing, and repairs made to the lawns where many hundreds of feet trod during the BFG Experience last year.

Wet, wet, wet. Still, the Hawthorn, Elder, Ox-Eye Daisies and wild Rose blossoms cheered us on the way to work, and by the time we got there the rain clouds had started to disperse. The reason it was wet was because it was a Bank Holiday weekend – or so the theory goes. Seed sowing and planting of Veg continues apace, and large nets were spread over the crops because there are many hungry beaks watching from the trees outside the Kitchen Garden. The mice and voles may find it a bit harder to get in, too. Despite the wet start to the day, plenty of visitors came to the gardens for a half-term outing.

National Volunteers Week saw a gathering of NT Volunteers to support those receiving Long Service Awards, presented by the Chairman of the Tatton Park Board. Tuesday Team fielded two Ten Year Awards and three Fifteen Year Awards. The other days’ teams fielded seven including two Five Year Awards, three Ten Year Awards and three Fifteen Year Awards. A remarkable achievement from our Valiant Volunteer Gardening Teams. The weather didn’t ‘play ball’ so the usual exploration walk after the ceremony was not possible.

Tuesday was extremely wet and although work continued as best it could, we had to down tools earlier than we would have liked.

There was a terrible smell of Garlic (from the wood ransomes) permeating the lanes on the way to work, brought about by the very hot sun penetrating the woodland nearby. Last week we were drenched, this week we were all wilting; hopefully next week will be a happy medium as more planting and seed sowing continues. The pumpkins and squashes look happy on their little mounds, and a sprinkler gave relief to the plants as well as the volunteers.

Raining again – is this why we call it ‘flaming June’? Planting continues, the Chive ‘hedges’ were being cut down now they have finished flowering; the Marigolds are in full glory, attracting pollinating insects. Pear rust patrol now takes longer as there are more orange-spotted leaves following the rain.

The RHS Team are now setting up the Parkland Showground for the forthcoming Flower Show next month, and the two herds of Deer have been moved further out into the Parkland.

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