The 2018 Open Garden Day was another great success, and a reward for all the hard work that the volunteers have put in over the past 12 months.
In June 2017, following the success of our first Open Day, the volunteers collectively believed that we could not merit holding another Open Garden for at least two more years because we doubted that we would have achieved sufficient change.
We were wrong!
Some 200 visitors were amazed to see the progress made in the past year.
Excavations Progress 2017-18
We have found the ‘lost path’ that would have run from the rustic bridge over the gorge to the North of the site
We have discovered how the Victorians got water to the site
We have uncovered at least three more of Anthony Parson’s special planting beds that he recorded in 1883 journals
We have uncovered yet more evidence of a path on the South side of the dell in the past few weeks
We have discovered more and more puddingstone and welcomed the Hertfordshire Puddingstone Group
We have discovered a drainage pipe from the Basin of the Dropping Well that feeds into a huge sump in front of the grotto
We have discovered Victorian underground water pipes around the dell with convenient ‘hydrants’ or standpipes for watering purposes
We have discovered that the source of the water comes either from the House itself or from wells between the Fernery and the House
As an experiment, during the course of the afternoon we ran a hosepipe from our mains feed down the face of the dropping well and into the basin and then on to the drainage sump. In this way we created a trickle effect which the Victorians might have similarly produced by opening a tap to let water flow from the cistern.
The experiment was very successful and we now seriously wonder if water would ever have been pumped around the cascade to the dropping well and then back up to the cistern.
Garden Restoration Progress 2017-18
We have witnessed the healthy growth of all the ferns which we planted in 2017 in the rock face itself
We have planted 100 trees around the perimeter to start to recreate a micro-climate of shade and dampness that ferns need in the dell
We have sought guidance from, and welcomed a visit from, the British Pteridological Society (Fern Society)
We have unearthed an original Anthony Parson’s tiered planting bed on the East side, now well planted with ferns
Having unearthed it, we have planted another bed, the main ‘Central Bed’, to Sarah Marsh’s wonderful design.
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
In achieving most of the above in the past 12 months we have been actively encouraged and supported by Ann MacDonalds’ Department
As agreed at the beginning of this Project, when the going has got tough, and the volunteers would otherwise have struggled, mechanical equipment has been brought onto the site.
It is largely due to the skilled and careful approach by the Maydencroft operatives that so much has been uncovered.
As part of the CPRE Rural Living Awards for 2017, the Friends of Danesbury Local Nature Reserve received a Community Commendation
Underpinning absolutely everything has been the enthusiastic teamwork of our volunteers, some of whom regularly join us from the Sherrardspark Wood Wardens, and from the Friends of Mardley Heath. They are led by our more than capable Committee (the so-called HOD5) all of whom have put an enormous amount of personal time and commitment into this Project since it started in September 2015.