Back in the winter lockdown when we could not do any gardening Sue Kelsall (the chairman of The Friends of Honeywood) got the project noticed by the British Association of Friends of Museums and the result is a feature in their newsletter.
It has been good growing weather. The baskets and pots have flourished, helped along by regular watering deadheading and feeding. The weeds have had a good time and are trying to re-establish themselves in areas that have been cleared. These have been re-weeded. Hopefully two, or perhaps, three, areas will be ready for planting in the autumn. The most dramatic change has been in the front garden where weeding and clearing has exposed the yarn-bombing artwork; part of a whole series of decorations that have appeared around the Ponds. The huge weeds in culvert in the front garden have been cleared so you can see the water again.
We had another work session today. The main job was re-weeding the previously cleared beds to eliminate numerous small seedlings.
I decided to mattock out some of the snowberry roots on the raised beds. I hadn’t got very far when I noticed that I had turned up an odd-looking worm. On a closer look I realised that it was a tiny slow worm only a few centimetres long. Fortunately the mattock had just missed it, so it was unharmed. A check on the web suggested that it was very young although it would it be unusually early it if it was born this year. I thought it might be attacked by a robin that was looking for lunch, so I laid a foam plastic kneeler over it. When I came back a while later it had gone, probably into a hole in the soil. It seems likely that there is a nest in the vicinity so I stopped work and we will leave the area until we can get advice on what to do and not do.
There were slow worms in front garden some years ago. I thought they had gone and it’s nice to find that they are still around the site.
The Council’s tree contractors have given the mulberry a big haircut, so it is not casting so much shade and is not in the house gutters. It grows at a huge rate and is likely to have regained most of its former size by the autumn.
We had another workday on Tuesday. The weeds have started re-growing, so we dug over one of the beds and the front garden was weeded. The floor of the former greenhouse was also cleared along with a good deal of the ivy which was spreading down the back wall. The pots on the wall by the French windows were planted for the summer. A few of the old plants were worth keeping so we have planted them in one of the beds pending a more permanent location. Not dramatic progress but it is definitely getting better each session.
The most visible development this week has been cutting down one of the two box hedges which runs from the corner of the house. It was taking up a lot of space which we aim to use for more attractive planting, causing a damp problem where it touched the house and also making it difficult to get to the garden water tap. It was quite a big and not easy to get the roots out.
We have also finished uncovering the edge of the raised bed in the back corner of the garden next to Pound Street. It was lost in a mass of elm suckers and sea of wild garlic. I noticed some variation in the construction of the bed edge in my last blog and more have emerged. They seem to suggest some sort of alteration, probably during the period of Council ownership which started in 1939. What exactly was done and why is still unclear and something for future investigation.
We also made some adjustments to the safety barriers around the pond so the garden is ready for the return of visitors. The house reopens on 20 May for pre-booked visitors.
The summer hanging baskets have been placed at the front.
It is less than a month since we started work (20 April) and we have made much more progress that I hoped.
Honeywood Garden Project Blog
Follow our progress as we renovate the gardens at Honeywood Museum.