Saturday 11th March
I had been given the go-ahead to go shopping for plants for the new Memorial Hall garden and there is nothing that I like better. Within a few days my garden was filling up with lots of plants, some bought, some donated from kind neighbouring gardeners and some potted up from my own little nursery bed, and so it was time for another Saturday morning working party.
After a grey start the sun came out and it was a pleasure to be outside. We had around a dozen willing helpers, including five children – there was lots to do! One group barrowed away two large piles of bark chippings, whilst others continued with the ground cover planting on the steep banks. All of the plant material for the banks has been sourced from local Platt gardens. In places we now have a lovely jumbled mixture of foxgloves, ox-eye daisies, red campion, evergreen geraniums, primroses and the like, whilst in others there are long swathes of St Johns Wort.
Alexander Hunt, our local walnut and hazel specialist nurseryman, had donated four walnut trees and ten hazels. They are not the common garden and hedgerow varieties but are special selections. It will be very interesting to see the differences between them as they grow.
After a well-deserved break for coffee and sausage baguettes, we began to plant perennials near to the steps, they will give lots of colour from spring through until autumn. With three people working on the first of the ornamental beds, near to the entrance to the car park, it was soon planted up and all nicely finished with bark chippings.
By the time it was one o’clock we were all starting to flag. We took the few remaning plants around to the rear of the hall and left them in the shade; they wouldn’t come to any harm there for a day or two. Then we took a few moments to assess what had been achieved so far and everyone was very pleased with what they saw and could go home very proud of our efforts that morning. Let’s hope for some gentle spring weather to help the plants to get established.
I am already planning the next working party and I hope it will happen very soon. Once again, a huge thank you goes out to all the kind folk who volunteered and worked so very hard. It has been a magnificent effort.
Saturday 18th March
I didn’t think it we would get many people turning up for the working party on Saturday 18th March. After all, this was the second week running and so there was very little time to let people know. The word got round however and we had more folk than ever. I counted 19 of us and 3 children. Everyone’s enthusiasm is fantastic, I am absolutely thrilled!
We had yet more bark chippings to move, in order to tidy up the area that will be grassed, I hope that we have finished that job for the present. Then we turned our attention to the large area for grassing, starting to dig out the edges next to the concrete paths where the tractor cannot go and removing, by hand, large stones and perennial weeds. There is a good sized area to the side of the hall that is nice and level and is very suitable for a marquee. Let’s hope that soon lots of people will be enjoying parties and functions in our new Memorial Hall garden.
A very important event took place on Saturday; it was marked with some lovely photos but with little ceremony. Poppy seeds had been brought from Flanders and were planted today. They will grow up in front of two purple hazel trees and I hope that the dark foliage will be an effective backdrop to the delicate red of these extraordinarily special field poppies.
There were lots of shrubs to plant, and as before, some had been donated, some bought and some were from my nursery bed at home. When I am planting a new garden I always have mixed feelings once it is done. On the one hand I can see that in a few years the mix of plants will form a rich tapestry of shapes, colours and fragrances. On the other hand I see all the tiny plants that have enormous promise but, as yet have very little effect on the bare earth.
The area for planting has grown somewhat from the original drawings, so I have some extra planting to plan, and plants to beg or buy, but by the time of the next working party I hope that I will have a car full of plants and our trusty band of helpers will be there waiting to put them in. As well as all the shrubs and perennials next time we will be planting snowdrops that have been very kindly donated by St Mary’s Platt Church.
Once again, I want to say an enormous ‘Thank You’ to all the people that came along and spent the morning working on our new garden. And let’s not forget the workers in the kitchen who provided us with food and drink to keep us going all morning long. I hope to see you all again next time, and some new faces too.