While gardening in a walled garden set in the middle of a wood, its notable that many weeds are prolific, plants that grow around us in abundance. Obviously having weeds this does not fit well with the look of a formal walled garden, however this year we have chosen to celebrate a number of the weeds with which we are familiar with. With propagating underway we have amassed a modest amount of plant material, that as we come to the end of February will be planted out in a new bed created on the moving of old compost bins. This bed will be planted to contrast the usual seemingly random growing habit that weeds adopt, we hope that it will highlight these weeds as plants, and that they can be appreciated in a different way to usual, and of course with them being members of the local plant community, we hole that this planting will be good for the surrounding wildlife too.
Posted by Phill, February 2020
Maintenance of our collection of apple trees is an ongoing job, spanning the year, but with trees being out of leaf over winter is the time when we step up the pruning work. Over the last three three winters pruning work has centred around pruning to get the trees back to a manageable size and attractive shape, pruning for fruit has not been our priority, that is until now.
As the trees started to go dormant, back in the autumn, a few larger branches were pruned out, to tweak previous years of shaping, and then in January trees that were not pruned last winter were hard pruned to get them more to the shape and formation that we are aiming for. With it now being February we have started work on pruning the water growth of last year, thinning the stems and also shortening them, which is hoped will encourage the formation of fruiting spurs. This has been a job that many people have lent time and energy towards, with a simple pruning guideline instruction given, this type of pruning has been relatively easy for pruning beginners to grasp and do to a good standard.
Posted by Phill, February 2020
With all of our festive celebrations now a distant memory our focus has turned to preparation of the garden for the year ahead. While January is often a dark, wet and cold month, the weather is not stopping us from being busy and getting a number of the big jobs done.
So far this month we have been working of reorganising our fire pit, so that we can burn apple tree branches form our pruning. This area is now looking neat and tidy and is filling up with branches from the first set of apple trees that were not pruned last year. Work with pruning will continue next month when we start pruning the trees that were pruned last year (later pruning can encourage blossom, often referred to as pruning for fruit). The orchard has also had a general tidy, with lots of weeding and bed edges re-cut neatly.
We have also been busy with the greenhouses, with glass cleaning already started inside and out and giving them a general clean and tidy. Planting outside has also started, with plants being positioned in gaps that have appeared over the previous growing season. All good prep for our first National Garden Scheme (NGS) opening on the 4th of April, where the whole garden will be open to the public.
Posted by Phill V-Williams, January 2020
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.
Posted by Phill VWilliams, December 2019
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.
Posted by Phill VWilliams, November 2019
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
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.
Posted by Phill VWilliams, September 2019
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
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