It was decided to operate just one Working Party as the amount of work to be undertaken in the Fernery Garden would demand the full attention of the 14 volunteers present, and the bird nesting season is upon us, militating against scrub-bashing until August at the earliest.
We were also mindful that with the hint of Easter ‘goodies’ to follow, then if we worked as a single group and didn’t stray too far when the Elevenses Whistle was blown, then there might be some reward!
At 11.am we all enjoyed the break in the sunshine.
Out of consideration of the noise nuisance, Andrew undertook a quick clearance of fallen leaves and twigs before most of the volunteers arrived.
Weeding and planting
The team continued the work of weeding the fern beds, which are beginning to show nicely.
Wild Flower Beds
Jenny brought more wild flower plugs to plant, and Harry and Alan secured the new areas with rabbit wire, staked and plugged.
Jenny and Sue were encouraged to find that wild flowers planted last month on the North Chalk Slope were surviving well – they discovered Devil’sbit Scabious, Small Scabious, Field Scabious, Harebells & many other species growing well despite the rabbits destruction of the area.
On the Southern Slope the daffodils had finished flowering and, in preparation for next months start of excavation of the Slope, as many daffodils as possible were lifted by Colin and Sara for re-planting elsewhere on the site, and/or retained for storage until the Autumn.
Andrew and Mike started clearing the nettles on the North East Bank in preparation for later fern planting. Happily they also uncovered a few healthy tree whips that we had planted in early 2018 and which were thought to have been long ‘lost’.
John spent a couple of happy hours watering all around the site.
Water Feed to the Dropping Well
All the required materials were to hand but the ground was very hard and it was decided to leave this task to the next Work Party. It remains one of the tasks to be completed by the 20th June 2019 Open Garden Day.
The Grotesque Entrance Posts
Having keenly gathered many more pine cones on our recent visit to the Bayfordbury Pinetum, Harry added to the post dressing, which is being much admired by visitors.
Unfortunately the metal detecting team were unable to come, and arrangements are being made for them to visit on another date.
Arrangements have been made with the WHBC for Maydencroft to be on site next month – probably in the week of the 16th May 2019 when we next meet.
It is anticipated that we will ask Maydencroft to restrict their work to the South side of the Dell as follows:
- uncover and level what are believed to be 2x planting beds on the Southern Slopes
- uncover the Drainage Sump in front of the Grotto once again, and secure it for ease of future access
- fit a safety grill to the face of the cistern, and clean out the cistern itself
- test the tap near the basin
Communications – WhatsApp Fernery Gardening Group
The WhatsApp Group is proving extremely useful for arranging ad hoc meetings, and it works well too keeping members in touch with each other.
A request has been made that links to newly posted website ‘News’ items (such as this) might be published to the WhatsApp group. Because we want to avoid sending too many emails to members, we will start to do this, and judge how successful it is.
Members who have mobile phones and would like to join this group, should send a mobile message to John and he will add you to the Group.
Ad Hoc Gardening Groups – Safety Issues
Please all note carefully.
We should be mindful of an informal, and practical, rule agreed with WHBC that if work in the Fernery is restricted just to gardening, then it is not necessary for a First Aid qualified member to be present, provided that a minimum of two members are present at all times, for safety and security reasons.
But Andrew has correctly reminded me that an assessment of risks should always be undertaken before any group commences work. We have to be especially mindful that the overhanging trees present a potential hazard in high winds, and we should also not underestimate the hazards of dragging the hose reel extension around the slopes when watering.
Next Working Party Meeting
Our next Working Party is on Thursday 16th May 2019. Please look for the Task List which we try to publish on this website in the week before.
Welwyn Festival – Open Evening
You are reminded that this year we are Open on the evening of 20th June 2019 from 6 pm to 8.30 pm
We have only 2x more Working Parties to go! We will in fact have a Working Party on the morning of the Open Evening itself, at which time we will be busy tidying up the site for presentation to visitors.
We will have some Reception tentage to erect, and display tables etc, and we ask for a full turn out of volunteers to help with the many tasks to get the site ready, to guide visitors safely around the site, and also to help us clear up afterwards.
We shall also ask you to lend us suitable garden chairs.