For the first time in ten years there has been no winter break for the volunteers. Each Thursday morning there have been volunteers working in the garden.
The priority during the early months of the year was to keep the surrounds to the house, the yard and conservatory attractive for the tearoom.
On wet days Rory and Barry cleaned the greenhouse and when fine they prepared the Bushey Grove Apple bed. Two diseased trees were removed. The original idea of that bed being returned to grass was abandoned. The geraniums donated by members of the Hertfordshire Group of the Hardy Plant Society some years ago, needed permanent placing. This position was thought ideal for them.
During the early spring the Clay Lane bed was prepared. Full of roots and remnants of ground elder it was a formidable and time consuming task.
Anne Godfrey, the owner of Daisy Roots Nursery at Hertford Heath, drew up a design plan and organised the buying of the shrubs for the bed. The first wave of planting was completed in late March. Under-planting with perennials will wait until further elimination of ground elder.
The old gnarled stems of the rhododendrons have been exposed. The path to the rose garden is now passable and a little ‘dell’ deep within the rhododendrons is complete. With seats and tree trunks for children to climb on it will be an ideal picnicking place.
A dead tree on the rose garden bank has been felled, Boward tree surgeons have chipped the huge pile of accumulated dead wood by the Clay Lane gate and a number of large logs have been removed off site for fire wood.
Some of the edging tiles in the rose garden have been reset and in places extended, so that all the beds are now enclosed. The roses have been pruned, fed, mulched and are looking cared for.
One has to keep these small increments of progress in mind as encouragement.
Many of the garden beds are infested with perennial weeds. During the summer, much time is taken with the general maintenance of lawns, edges and hoeing the vegetables. The Mulberry Garden is in bad need of a ‘make over’.
To get this completed before the main summer events will be a race against time.