The end of the year has come surprisingly fast, and with it lots of hard work to have gotten the garden as tidy as possible before we close for a few days over the Christmas period. In the run up to Christmas we have been making and selling wreathes and table decorations, using traditional plant based material from the garden. In the week before Christmas we will be hosting our festivities, which this year will be a little different to usual and involve lots of social distancing and other things to keep us all safe while enjoying the run up to Christmas day itself.
Everyone at Beyond the Wall would like to take the opportunity to extend or tanks and appreciation for everything that everyone has done over the last year to keep things working so well, through plant sales, volunteering, coming up with new and creative ideas and also helping us keep everyone we supported work alongside safe and well.
Wishing you all a merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.
The start of November saw a few really bright sunny days, so we took the opportunity to start work on chopping down the herbaceous border in preparation for winter. With new tools and everyone on each of the days taking part in this activity, light work was made of what is usually a massive job each autumn. With the border chopped, we were fortunate to have a volunteer assist with weeding the border and with a final rake and tidy, all the chopped stems and dead flowers were taken to the bonfire. Meantime, everyone had worked so hard that we wear able to take advantage of the unseasonal warmth and toast marshmallows around the fire pit, and admire our work as well as the rest oft he garden, as leaves start to fall and it becomes dormant for the winter months ahead.
October has seen much activity in the garden, with every member of Beyond the Wall being fully involved in working on the different seasonal tasks, both in the glasshouses with propagation and out in the walled garden when it hasn’t been raining.
The end of October saw us start our celebration season with a week of pumpkin exploration and carving, activities also included collecting and preserving autumn leaves using wax from our bees and suspending in the poly tunnel to give it a seasonal feel while working with propagation tasks. of course November will be upon us soon, the season for lighting our fire pit and toasting marshmallows, lets hope that it stays dry for our continuing autumn celebrations
With there having been high winds of late, unfortunately the marquees that we were using to provide sheltered workspaces for many client activities have been damaged and are now out of use. There good news is that we have been given funding that will allow us to purchase a four season marquee to replace them, which will provide us with ample space over the wet months of winter, so that we can continue offering our service to our members, in a safe secure and comfortable way.
In the meantime we have been using other spaces and adapting activities and ways of working, and have even enlisted the assistance of volunteers to help us transform existing spaces, so that we can set up multiple spaces for different activities, which will give us even more flexibility though the winter and assist us in keeping things ‘Covid secure’.
The staff at Beyond the wall would like to say a ,massive thanks to the people who have helped transform the greenhouse spaces and polly tunnel into dry and well ventilated work spaces, within days of them being reconfigured we have been using them, much to the enjoyment of our members.
While inside spaces have been transformed, outside in the garden, apples are now being harvested and are on sale on our produce stand, and we have started work on clearing and tidying ahead of winter.
With lots of propagation taking place throughout July, our stocks of plants for sale are starting to build up once again following our success with plant sales during lockdown.
August has arrived and we have found ourselves working with a new routine, one that is based almost totally outside, and taking advantage of all the facilities that the walled garden has to offer. Photography, painting and drawing have all been a part of our creative programme, and everyone has been fully involved in weeding, watering and harvesting the fruit and vegetables that are now ready for eating.
The recent heatwave has presented its challenges, however we have all managed to make small adjustments to work in the garden and managed to keep cool and hydrated, and have also managed to keep the plants all watered too.
Our lawns are finally getting back in shape, with lots of mowing, and edges being cut neatly. The apple tree beds have also been weeded a number of times, and the borders are now all looking tidy again. As yet we have to start working outside of the walls on the beds to the south of the garden, this will come in time, but for now we are concentrating on working in an environment away from the public, which we can all stay as safe as possible wiithin.
Produce, flowers and plants are now all on sale on the plant stand to the side of the garden, and so are now accessible to the public while out on walks around the estate.
Enter July, and along with it a number of days of rain. With the weeds in the garden being kept on top of the last three months, the warmth and rain has brought abut a sudden surge in growth, all beds through the garden have needed attention, in particular the apple tree beds and the two large vegetable beds.
With the garden reopening to our members on the 6th of July, work weeding and mowing started quickly and within just a few hours the garden was starting to look notably different, with barrows of weeds being pulled up and the lawns all getting a post lockdown haircut by our members.
Meantime in the greenhouses and marquee spaces work was started by our members on propagation, to produce new plant stock for sale, following our record plant sales in the last two months. Already lots of plant divisions and cuttings have been taken, and watered in, we are now waiting for the warm weather to help the process of rooting before we can pot up and restock our plant stand that is now up and running again in the car park area to the side of the walled garden.
As we move into the month of June, the weather has been really dry, and looks set to continue to be pretty good in the weeks ahead, so we are busy watering our plants at the garden to keep things growing well. The vegetable beds are now all planted, and with water and lots of weeding, we are hoping to have plenty of vegetable plants to tend when we reopen our doors to our members.
During the lockdown, staff and volunteers have been really busy with tending plants and transporting them safely to a number of plans sales stands around Norfolk and Suffolk. With everyones efforts, over £2300 has been raised through plant sales, all of which helps to support the activities that take place at Beyond the Wall. Our plants are all grown from seed or cuttings and are propagated by our members and volunteers, and so are always very well looked after.
With Thornham Walks now reopening their permissive paths to the public, people are able to walk past the garden on country walks once again (we are sorry, but we need to keep our garden closed to the public with he ongoing Corina Virus Pandemic). So with the estate now reopened to the public we have set up our usual plant sales stand to the side of the garden, and are now able to sell plants from the garden once more.
The team would like to extend their thanks to our volunteers who have all helped to make the plant sales so successful this year during a very difficult period, watering, transport, selling and tending the plants has all taken a lot of time and energy. We would also like to say a massive thank you to all the people who have bought a plant, flowers and rhubarb that we have grown and harvested from he garden during this time. We hope that your plants grow well and enhance your own garden this summer.
As we move into May, with the country still in lock down and Beyond the Wall still closed for a while yet, our greenhouses have still been pretty busy, with plants growing speedily a the weather has slowly gotten warmer and brighter.
Over the last 5 weeks or so Phill has been in three times a week to water the plants and to sow seeds, so that when we reopen we will have vegetables crops to tend and harvest. The rest of the garden is also being kept in check, with lawns being mown and the worst of the weeds being dealt with.
With Thornham, Walks closed, we have not been able to set up our usual plant sales stand to the side of the garden, but with the support of our volunteers and team, we have been able to get plants dropped off (being sure to wear gloves and disinfect while transporting) to a few villages and locations nearby, where they have been able to be sold to people out on their daily permitted walk/exercise routine.
If you live in Gisslingham, Diss, Westhorpe or Debenham, then our plants will be on sale for a very good price indeed, and with the passing of frosts we will be adding pelargoniums and tender houseplants to our range of stock for sale, so keep an eye out for a bargain.
Sadly, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the decision had to be made to close the adult day care provision that we provide at Beyond the Wall, this came in to effect from Friday 20th March, and is initially for a one month period. With this closure the walled garden will also be closed to the public, as the walks on the estate are now also closed.
Mrs P is continuing to be looked after, as well as the plants in the greenhouse, so that when we reopen things can get back to usual as soon as possible.
The NGS open day on the 4th April has also had to be cancelled, however we are aiming to work with NGS to have another ‘pop up’ open day later in the year.
Meantime staff are busy using our social media platforms to be in contact with our members, volunteers and supporters during this unusual time. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for service and garden updates as well as an abundance of fun activities that we can still all share in together.