Task 1 – Planting
The 16 volunteers had to be watchful as we moved around the site, as the pathways were very wet, and dangerously slippery, from the recent heavy rain. But, despite days of cold and rain, we had a beautifully clear and bright day to start the process of bedding in bare-rooted trees and a few specimen potted plants. These needed to be planted in advance of the Big Plant-up scheduled for April 2018.
Please go to Danesbury Fernery Planting Record to see a list of the 100x trees and shrubs, and a few perennials, which the volunteers planted on 15th February 2018 under the direction of Sarah Marsh, our Garden Designer.
The prime purpose of many of the bare-rooted trees planted is to restore the shelter which the more delicate ferns and other specimen plants would have enjoyed in the past. An equally important purpose is to screen the site from unwelcome Motorway views, (not a Victorian problem), whilst also presenting seasonal blocks of colour and interest which will frame the many other vistas to be enjoyed from within the Fernery.
A great deal of planning is underway to ensure that the mechanical digger will be able to operate on site in the two weeks commencing 9th April without impeding the designated Big April plant-up.
Task 2 – Mulching Cage
Mike was able to cut his way through the brambles and with Andrew was able to build a second mulching cage which will gradually be brought into commission.
Task 3 – Excavation – North side
Mike also managed to excavate more brick ‘foundations’ at the North end of the dell, which throw up even more unanswered questions.
Are they in fact foundations of some sort, or perhaps elaborately shaped planting beds? In April when we have the mechanical digger on site, we will carefully remove some of the spoil above that area to see if we can come up with the answers.
Task 3 – Fencing
Stephen continued the very hard and slow task of digging out old wrought-iron fencing panels from the lower side of the site, where they have lain unseen for many years, under several feet of chalk and spoil.
We are gradually moving these original panels to fill gaps in the fencing on the top side of the site where they are in full view of visitors. In the fullness of time, we will plan to replace the fencing on the lower side with replicas.
Task 4 – Excavation South side – The Steps
Ann and Becca continued their exploration of the steps on the South side of the dell.
As with the discoveries at the North end of the site, every piece of excavation throws up more questions about the direction these steps are taking.
Task 5 – Watering
Last but by no means least, Harry got a temporary watering hose into action for the first time from our new mains supply in the shed. He and Tony watered many of the new plants, and next week it is hoped that our new self winding reel and 40 m hose will be installed, ready to be tested over the entire site. We will report on that separately, as we will need to organise a watering roster of volunteers.
Team News and Announcements
We were very pleased to welcome four new team members: Jane Thom, Mike Smith, Sylvia Cook, and Richard Tucker – not forgetting Sara who joined us last month.
Welwyn Festival – Open Gardens Programme 2018
We have been accepted as one of the Open Gardens within the 2018 Welwyn Festival Open Gardens Programme. We have made impressive excavation progress on the site since our Open Gardens introduction in 2017, and we can now add considerably to the overall interest value by proudly talking about, and showing, the emerging Victorian Garden.
We will be ‘Open’ on the afternoon of the 1st Sunday of the Welwyn Festival – i.e. the day after the Festival ‘Street Market’ opening event.
So – please now keep your diaries clear for SUNDAY 17TH JUNE 2018
We will have more news, and plans to publish over the next two months, and must expect that June will come around very quickly!
Dates of Next Meetings
(Please go to our Calendar for details of all meetings).
Fernery Gardening Group
Saturday 3rd March 10 a.m.
Thursday 15th March 10 a.m. The Fernery