What a dramatic entrance to the Walled Garden: four huge Cotton Thistles! Museum visitors who venture out into the garden just have to find out what else there is to see!
We promised that this third summer of the Garden would see it 'blossoming', and it is, just in time for Cleo Mussi's exhibition, ' Mussi's Herbal'. A visit to the exhibition must be followed by a viewing of Cleo's borders in the Garden.
The planting is filling out, with new additions to keep up the succession of interest. Clematis and roses are scrambling up the new metal obelisks. The beehive has all but disappeared into the meadow, now turning purple with knapweed.
Now we know the areas which need extra attention - water, compost, supports. ... and where the slugs and snails live! We've had much - needed help from Sarah Parker this year: have you seen the squashes and courgettes at the pergola? The plants are thriving on her attention, our ‘natural’ slug defences, and the organic seaweed feed Sarah is giving them. Soon, Geoff will try the same treatment in the lawn.
Spend an hour in the Walled Garden and you'll meet all sorts of people. There are those who come with friends for a day out, discover the Museum and find there's so much to see that they will ‘have to come again, and bring other people’.
There are the family groups in the school holidays, looking for activities to enjoy. Recently, we met a lady who had been in the Garden with a school group in the very early days, when all we had was the new Pavilion, accessed via the side gate and the old steps, with bright orange fencing to keep us away from the mud, diggers and mess. 'That's all history now', she said, looking across the glorious borders from the Pavilion terrace.
Nowadays we are drawing the gardening fans, looking with expert eyes at the plants and the layout of the garden. They tell us they are visitors to other Garden properties and our Garden compares with the best they've seen'. How lovely!
Some pass on advice and suggestions, not realising that there is no ' Head Gardener', just a team of volunteers, working to an artist designer's vision.
But our greatest thrill and pleasure comes when visitors arrive at the Garden feeling tired, or troubled in some way. They tell us that, after a little while sitting in the Garden, they feel much better. The garden walls create a space separate from outside concerns, where there is time to sit, simply do nothing and get back in touch with the really important elements of life. We firmly believe in the Spirit of the Place and that is indeed a wonderful gift to be shared.
Ann Taylor & Caroline Dicker (garden volunteers)