No, not the folk band, but a team of volunteers and gardeners getting down and dirty!
I mentioned last week that the gravel paths were just about ready to be surfaced. I arrived in the Walled Garden this week with Gardner Ed, who wound me up to expect to be doing a huge amount of Carr stone spreading . I was pleasantly surprised, because most of the hard paths had not only been given a tamped base of Carr stone, but had had their finishing layer of pea shingle too. What a transformation!
The other volunteers were doing some weeding in the inner courtyard and Parterre of the house, but Aussie Pete and I joined Gardener Ed and Project Manager Mike to press on with Carr stone levelling and tamping.
I’d not done this before, so it was interesting to see the technique in play. A screed board– two pieces of plank bracketed together (and with notches at either end to slide over the metal path edging) was used to pull the Carr stone over and then raked in a rowing fashion to achieve the correct profile. The board had even been given a 10 degree camber from the centre to ensure water run off from the path centre to the edges. This simple, but effective tool gave an impressive result. It was certainly a lot easier with three or four people on the board. I used to enjoy rowing, but my shoulders ached at the end of the day.
Still it was pleasing to see the result, especially after Mike had tamped the surface hard and spread gravel over the paths. After our efforts there’s just one side path and a little area in front of the Bothy left to do, so hopefully someone will get that done before we return next week!
Old School Gardener