Autumn/Winter 2018

Walled Garden volunteers update, prepared by Ann Taylor.

As I write this 'Walled Garden report', there's glorious colour in the Park. The Walled Garden is beautiful, and its setting in the park, with mature trees all around, makes it all the more special. No wonder the Garden is attracting inquiries as a wedding venue or christening party. Visitors appreciate the atmosphere in the Garden, which is also an inspiration for artists' and poets' workshops, and children's trails.

 Asters (Michaelmas daisies to me as I am still learning the 'proper' names of some of the plants) have given the Garden borders an autumn lift, the tall white flowers at the Pavilion pathway, magenta-pink in the Bonkers border, and various shades of purples elsewhere.

This year, Cleo Mussi chose chrysanthemums to add to the colours, from a specialist grower, Norwells of Nottingham. The plants have done very well, in spite of summer heat when they arrived as tiny shoots in need of water, and rescued by Caroline (Garden volunteer). The 'chrysanths' (see photo), mostly in the Bonkers border, have staggered flowering times: some are almost over now, while others are still in bud.  Cleo also added interest to the more shady slope below the hedge. There are the bright red stems of Cornus, which we'll leave for one more year's growth and then maintain at that height, plus several hydrangeas, red- leafed in the autumn, and the red stalks of the euphorbias. The sudden cold at the end of October flattened one or two plants overnight, but we've salvaged the stalks of the persicaria, also bright red.

In the raised beds, the purple sprouting broccoli and red cabbage are looking healthy, and we've managed a crop of summer salad vegetables too. There's always advice and interest from visitors about this part of the Garden - an important feature of the planting as it harks back to the original purpose of the garden.  The sweet peas along the pergola are an attraction too; several elderly visitors have said that the fragrance reminds them of past times. Caroline and I have both presented these visitors with a little posy as a gift.

We've had apples and plums in abundance this year - and recently, the Garden was the venue for Apple Day, a community event with Stroud Valleys Project. ' The Boys' : Geoff, John, Dave and Rob, have begun chopping kindling again. They've also carried out essential maintenance work on the gates and benches ready for the winter season. Geoff has made a new compost bin for food waste. We were offered a quince and fig tree by resident of Uplands, which proved an adventure, as the trees were large, and we had to send for reinforcements to get them back to the Garden! But both trees have survived.

Caroline's been very busy all summer, carefully and patiently collecting seed heads and with the assistance of Museum staff these are on sale in the Museum shop. Meanwhile, Marion has created a very smart ' plant holding area', preparing cuttings to offer for sale at the Shed stall.

We've been given a special iris, Iris unguicularis Walter Butt, which flowers in the winter (we hope). Walter Butt was a local plant collector who lived at Hyde Lodge at Chalford. We have more to tell of his work - look out for this in January.