With moving into March and the start of lockdown easing, we have been fortunate enough to have assessed the return to the garden as a safe activity for staff and our members. The vaccination programme is going well in the area and rates are now all down to a far safer level than they were around Christmas.
Our staff team have been working hard to prepare all of our work spaces for use as we return, and making them Covid secure in the process. And we are delighted that as schools return to work, that we will once again have the garden open to our members.
Thanks to everyones hard work before Christmas the garden was left on very good condition, with many jobs that would’ve been done in January and February completed. With the extended cold period when we had snow, spring growth has been a bit slower than previous years, so the garden still looks good, though of course there is always lots of work ahead. the lawns will need their first cut soon, weeds will need removing, seeds sown and of course the plants in the green house will need tending, and we have lots of propagation ahead the next two months, to build our plant stock for sale this year.
We are delighted to welcome our members back to the walled garden, and to make a start on work within the walls for 2021, we are also hoping that if we can recruit volunteers, that the garden will once more be able to be reopened (on weekends to start) to members of the public, so that they can come in and enjoy the results of everyones hard work
As we move into February, sadly with the national lockdown the garden has had to remain closed. However with staff popping in and out to do checks and resource online sessions, we have been able to take photos and make videos of what’s happening, so that everyone can stay up to date with the first signs of spring. Bulbs have started to emerge from the ground and snowdrops have all started flowering. Hellebores have also come into flower and to the front of the garden Sarcococca is now on flower and smelling amazing. A few weeds are now appearing in the vegetable beds, but this will not be difficult to sort out when we are all back working. Meantime the weather has brought us more snow and very cold weather, so it’s certainly been warmer being together while on our daily Teams meet up from our living spaces at home. Plant quizzes, baking, games, conversation, cooking yoga and lots of exercise and mindfulness has all been a part of our daily get togethers, so we have all had the opportunity to keep fit and active while it’s been cold. We have even been keeping track of our daily steps while we go out on daily walks. Hopefully march will be warmer, so we can all get outside to enjoy the outdoor spaces around us more.
Happy New Year from us all at Beyond the Wall, we hope that you had fun and safe Christmas and New years celebrations and are looking forward to the year ahead.
As much as we had planned to get back to work in the garden after the new year celebrations, the national lockdown has sadly prevented us from doing things as we had hoped. In place of our usual face to face service, the team have been busy with organising and delivering an online version of what we do at beyond the wall, with daily Teams video meet ups, (check our Facebook page for links and more) where all the usual activities have been adapted to work on screen. There is also plenty of time for us to socialise as well. Back in the garden, it is being checked on but little work is needed at the moment, due to the efforts and hard work of everyone back in November and December, when we worked so productively, that most of the jobs that would be done in January and February were completed.
We are all looking forward to getting back to the garden and to seeing everyone including all of our fabulous volunteers, so that we can work together to keep the walled garden looking at its very best.
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.