Archive for November, 2018


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Volunteers begin the ‘Healing Garden’ at Hellesdon Hospital

To Walter de Grasse

Dear Walter,

Well, what can I say… I see its been 4 months since my last letter. So apart from  giving you profuse apologies for not keeping you up to speed on my garden-related activity, I hope this letter finds you and Ferdy well and looking forward to Christmas.

So what’s been happening? To start with Deborah and I had a great time back in August at the latest instalment in the Aylsham Roman Dig. Though the ‘finds’ might not have been as stunning as the last two years, the excavations revealed more of the pattern of settlement in this fascinating site, which now seems to have been occupied continuously since iron age times, if not earlier. Of particular interest was the new excavation in the walled garden of Woodgate House, which revealed considerable building material and suggests the location of a substantial Roman building (possibly a ‘villa’ or farmstead) nearby. This is nicely set up for next years dig. Deborah is now helping to sort and classify the many new finds of pottery and other material found over the three weeks of the dig. Here is a selection of shots to give you an impression of the (very hot) activities we undertook this year.

You might recall that I’d been involved with creating a show garden at Sandringham Flower show? Well I’m very pleased to say that the plants and other features from this have been substantially relocated into a ‘Healing Garden’ that I’ve designed and helped to create at an admissions ward at our local psychiatric hospital; a selection of staff, service users, carers and other volunteers have helped with this over a two-week period (see picture above), and whilst there are some ‘fixtures and fittings’ to complete, at least the planting has been done before winter sets in. Though it might not look much at present I’m looking forward to seeing it in the spring and onwards into next year as the many spring bulbs and varied planting we’ve put in comes to life. Here are a couple of pictures ‘before and after’ of the entrance to the ward, which gives a good idea of how we’ve taken rather bland, uninteresting areas of grass and, hopefully, added interest. It’s been both challenging and enjoyable working on this as we have to bear in mind a whole lot of risk factors in the design and implementation of such a project.

Very recently I’ve become an Executive Committee member of the newly established Broadland Tree Warden Network, which has gone its own way after many years of being under the wing of the local Council. That support has been very good and it looks like continuing, including money for tree planting. On the latter I’ve been fortunate to secure the purchase of 10 trees to further extend the planting near our local church (for which the Church Action Group won a Norfolk Biodiversity Award). One of these is to replace one of the ornamental pears (Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’) that didn’t survive the summer drought. The others- a mix of Crab Apples, Hawthorn, Rowan, Cherry, Cornus etc. will add further variety to the local scene as well as helping to make the car park more attractive. Here are some pictures of the new trees in place…with plenty of horses and ponies that now populate the fields surrounding the church (all part of Hillside animal sanctuary). And I must, once again, pay tribute to the Community Payback Team for the great support they’ve given us in both managing the churchyard, but in carrying out works to help improve the local scene more generally (including digging the holes for the new trees!).

Our efforts to secure funding for repairs and improvements to the church itself are also progressing. I’ve submitted grant applications for works to improve accessibility to the church (it will mean, among other things, that the church can remain open during the day rather than being closed, apart from services and events), and another to carry out urgent repairs to some of the stained glass windows. We are also starting to ramp up our activities for next year in order to both provide a wider range of activities and secure local funds to help towards our grander plans. The next one of these is on 9th December- our annual ‘Carols by Candlelight’ service….

My other commitments have meant I’ve not been to Blickling much of late, but did manage to get over for an hour or two of leaf clearing last week, and am looking forward to the Christmas Party there next week. Here are a couple of shots from earlier in the year…

As you might have guessed Old School Garden has been rather short of attention in the light of all of the bove (and other commitments), but at least I’ve begun leaf clearing and tidying in preparation for ‘putting the garden to bed’ until next spring. The Liquidambar is looking especially impressive this year…

I expect to finish clearing out the greenhouse and insulating and putting a heater in there to ensure tender plants (Cannas, etc.) survive the winter.

Well, Christmas approaches and hopefully we can see the conclusion of works to our lounge which began last spring with ceilings being removed and the room being put back close to how it might have looked as a classroom. I’m especially pleased with the new ‘gothic window’ we had installed over the french doors, and this will be receiving a stained glass inner panel next week- see an early picture below. A new wood burner is also going in, so the ‘Chapel of Rest’ as I now call it will be set for Christmas festivities…

Not that we will get much benefit from this in the short term as we are off to Australia to see our eldest daughter, son in law and grand daughter immediately after Christmas and from there will spend 3 weeks touring New Zealand. So, I’m looking forward to exploring a number of botanical gardens and other interesting places, and will try to ‘blog’ about these as we go.

In the immediate future we are off to York today for a couple of days and then to Edinburgh to stay with friends, and in a week or two off to Devon to see mother-in-law for a Christmas visit…so a lot of travel in the next few months…will Old School Garden survive the neglect?

All the best for Christmas and the New Year to to you and yours old friend…

Old School Gardener

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Wisterias are wonderful plants, but once established they do have imperialistic tendencies, wreathing and twining their way to cover walls, reach for roofs and wind through windows, so generally it is not considered a suitable plant for small spaces. However, on my recent visit to the Hillier Garden I saw a new technique they are…

via Wisterias for Small Spaces — The Enduring Gardener

We have visited the Piet Oudolf gardens at the Hauser and Wirth Galleries in Bruton, Somerset twice already. We wanted to visit once more to see how these amazing new perennial style gardens had matured. We had to pass between the gallery buildings to reach the gardens but were drawn to these gently planted containers […]

via Hauser and Wirth – a return to Piet Oudolf’s gallery garden — greenbenchramblings

Originally posted on Purplerays: ? ? “And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.” ~ William Shakespeare ? ? ? ? ? ~ Image, Fairy Glen Gorge, River Conwy, Wales by Craig McCormick Text & image source: ॐ Simplicity,…

via Sunday reflection . . . . And this, our life, — The English Professor at Large

I’ve noticed that the colors of Autumn have varied greatly near me this year, with some areas well past peak color and others approaching it. I found one area this weekend that offered a nice display. Photos Copyright Jeffrey Foltice

via Autumn Color — Photo Nature Blog

Yesterday I potted up 160 Tulip bulbs in 8 containers. This is 2/3 of the total, so not too bad. There’s 80 Tulips and 4 containers left to go.

via Time Again To Pot Up The Tulips — gardeninacity

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