December, the end of our working year

As we have made our way into December and winter, our usual end of year seasonal jobs have started in the garden. Leaves are being raked each week to keep the garden tidy, mulching of beds has also started and we have now managed to chop most of the herbaceous plants that need tidying ahead of the cold weather.

This year much of our mulching has been with leaves, as these are a free resource that given our location are organic and have no carbon footprint associated to mulch that you may buy in a garden centre.

It’s been all hands on deck, with clients, volunteers and staff all lending a hand to get jobs done ahead of our Christmas Party and then being closed for the Christmas period.

Our Christmas party will be on our last working day on the 20th December, and we will reopen again in the New Year on 2nd January 2020.

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Posted by Phill VWilliams, December 2019

Christmas Market

Following our annual Apple day being cancelled due to bad weather, we were all rather pleased that the weather remained good for our Christmas Market. With warming drinks including mulled wine, homemade cakes and BBQ keeping everyone warm, a selection of stalls selling local produce and handmade soaps, jams and wreathes all made from things in the garden were available to assist with stocking filling and Christmas wish lists.

The day also involved raffles for items that made excellent Christmas presents and a very special homemade Christmas cake.

Toasting marshmallows around our fire pit gave the opportunity to warm up after having a walk around the garden to see the progress we have made within the walls as we approach winter.

Everyone at Beyond the Wall would like to extend thanks to everyone who attended the day and supported us, we are excited to announce that the event raised over £700 for our charitable organisation.

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Posted by Phill VWilliams, November 2019

Medlar trees, a hard prune

October has brought with it a change in weather, and with it our fruit trees are starting to go into dormancy for winter. With leaves now turning autumnal shades and dropping, work is starting on our annual pruning. Our apple trees will be pruned in February, as we hope to promote fruiting, where our Medlar trees, which have become large and tangled, are in need of a tidy and shaping, cutting them hard now as we go into dormancy will hopefully promote vigorous growth in spring, which while they will not produce blossom and fruit, will allow the trees to start the rejuvenation process which will happen over the next couple of years.

Its been all hand son deck this week with this project of working on two mature trees, a big thank you to everyone who has helped out and we are all looking forward to seeing how the trees start to grow back in spring.

Posted by Phill V-Williams, October 2019

Talk and Tea!

Following an extended period of closure to the public, the walled garden and cafe have now been open for their third summer in a row. We thought that it would be a great opportunity to try something a little different and offer the opportunity for the public to gain an insight to the changes that have been made to the garden during that time, so organised our first garden open day for early September.

Members of the public for a small fee, were able to access all parts of the garden (including the parts that are closed to the public) to see our produce grow beds, tropical and arid greenhouse display, orchard, double border and enjoy a hot drink and piece of home made cake in our Glass House Cafe. Access to the garden included a guided tour and talk about the varying projects in the garden, including the recent restoration of the Yew hedging to the front of the garden.

Proceeds from the day will help to support our ongoing work to support disabled adults within the walled garden, through our learning and skills programme of activities. Keep up to date via our social media accounts for up to date news on further fundraising and garden based open days and events.

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Posted by Phill VWilliams, September 2019

Yew hedge regeneration

Over the last three years the whole of the walled garden has undergone a transformation, and while much has changed one regeneration project has fallen to the side, that is until   now, September has already seen the start of a big change to the front of the garden with the Yew hedges changing their shape.

Six yew hedges/buttresses separate a strip of land into bays at the front of the walled garden, these have over the last 10 years become large and out of shape. While last year the height was lowered somewhat to allow light to spill into their core, drastic work was still needed to get them looking at their best. This the bold step of starting to bring the hedges into shape was made. One side of each hedge was to be cut back hard, to the trunk, which will allow for new growth to appear and grow back so that it can be clipped into a neat hedge. With the hedges being between 5 and 6 feet wide at the moment, and the project aiming for hedges no wider than 2 feet across, this was rather drastic work.

The hedges sadly consist of only three trees in each section, two of the hedges contain trees that appear to be historical, possibly planted at the time of the building of the walled garden, so there are a number of challenges, especially with tree trunks not all in a strictly upright position.

One side of each hedge has now been cut back to the trunk, and the other sides clipped so that they at least look tidy for now. Next year, providing that growth from this years cutting has commenced well, we will be looking to repeat the hard cutting action to the other side of the hedge. By 2011 the hedge will hopefully start to look like how we intend.

Posted by Phill V-Williams, September 2019

Mad Hatters Tea Party 2019

Last year we held a summer Mad hatters Tea Party within the walled garden, a new event for Beyond the Wall, with it being such a  success despite rain on the day itself, we held our 2019 Mad Hatters Tea Party at the start of August.

This year we were blessed with warm weather, and with many of the tickets being reserved and purchased before the event, it looked to be a fully subscribed event.

With live music starting off the day, families were welcomed into the garden with drinks and activities on the lawn, all followed by the tea party itself. The garden was decorated to suit our theme with inventive and interactive decorations and activities. Our tea party was also highly decorated, with cakes and treats looking splendid, thanks to a talented supporter of our work.

A treasure hunt and garden tour followed the tea party, and shortly after the band resumed, while Pimms was enjoyed on the lawn by many of our guests. A raffle rounded off a sunny and enjoyable afternoon and we are delighted to announce that the event raised just over £700 that will go to supporting the variety of learning and therapeutic activities that we deliver within the day service that lives within the walls of Thornham Walled Garden.

The team would lie to thank everybody who contributed to making a magical day, and we are already looking forward to working together again as we start to plan our next event, as well a next summers Mad Hatters Tea Party.

Posted by Phill VW, August 2019

The greenhouse grow bed

The grow bed in the glasshouse has been used to grow cucumbers, chillis, tomatoes and melons over the last three summers. With the poly tunnel also coming into operation and production in this time, we thought that it would be good to make a few changes and try something different. 

With the bed cleared, it was all hand on deck to bring lots of organic matter into the greenhouse to help improve the soil. With manure, compost and some nutrients added, it was time to plant up. From a bare patch, and with a budget of creativity and generosity, we were able to assemble a collection of plants that in their ranks included plants that like hot arid environments, plants that are suited to warm tropical conditions and also plants that were a part of our existing collection of New Zealand planet and succulents. The bed was planted up by a number of people over the course of a week and has been finished off with a  top dressing of wood chipping, to help keep moisture locked away where it is needed and to finish the bed off uniformly. With July upon is the bed has come into its own, filling up with lush foliage and colour. we hope that it is  pleasing addition for our visitors to look around when exploring the garden and greenhouse. Some of the plants are now being propagated by clients and volunteers, so upon visiting, it will be possible to buy a number of the inspiring plants that are on display for your own windowsill, conservatory or greenhouse. 

BTW would like to thank the many generous people in the local and horticultural community who have donated plants that have formed a part of the collection in this bed.

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Posted by Phill, July 2019

Trips Out

July brings with it warm weather and is associated with holidays and days out, which means one thing to us all here at BTW… Day Trips!

This year rather than having all of our trips in one week we have spread the trips, so that people are able to come on a number of day trips to different places over a three week period. We have been blessed with dry weather and managed to visit many locations in the region and take part in some great activities. Museums, castles, bowling alleys and zoos have all featured in our selection of trips, as well as the coast, walks, fish and chips and picnic lunches. We have already had some great feedback, so it looks like we will need to plan some more fun days out for the future.

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Posted By Phill, July 2019

Summer Plant Sale

With June having been unseasonably wet, the day of our summer plant sale was upon us and brought with it sunshine and warmth to the walled garden.

With volunteers and clients having been busy over the last six months working to propagate plants from root and stem cuttings, division and seed germination, everyones efforts culminated in a grand arrangement of potted plants ready to be purchased by visitors.

Our range of plans echoes the planting in the walled garden, particularly the double herbaceous border, so buying a plant enables visitors to take away a little piece of the garden to nurture and grow at home as well as supporting a local charity.

Proceeds from our plant sale will go towards the work that Beyond the Wall does within and beyond the walled garden, in supporting disabled adults to learn new skills, and develop their learning (including horticulture) through structured sessions an therapeutic activities.

Beyond the wall would like to say a big thank yo to the team of volunteers who made this years summer plant sale such a success, and of course to everyone who attended the day.

Plants will continue to be on sale on our plant stand daily at the end of the walled garden car park, and in addition we have a plant sale stand along the main road through Gisslingham.

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Posted by Phill VWilliams, June 2019