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Volunteers' Blog - May 2021

We are back! A team of Volunteers, socially distanced of course, mustered at the end of April to once again assist Mike Hughes and his team in the garden.

Our first return to the Garden meant that we were also present to witness the Monkey Puzzle tree being dismantled. The tree surgeons, hanging high above the ground, wielded their chain saws with precision. Each branch, prior to being cut, was secured by a rope to a zip wire running from treetop to the back of a truck. When the branch was severed from the trunk of the tree it careered down the zip wire to the ground and thus avoided being dropped on the rhododendron below. By the end of the morning all was left was the bare trunk and a mound of dead branches.

Following the removal of the branches, John and Chris two new members of the Volunteers team, set to work tidying up the area where the branches had landed. Piling up the debris around the walnut tree close to the Bird Hide, the grass is once more clear for mowing. Stout gloves were required as the those of you who have tried to lift a Monkey Puzzle tree branch will know they are armed with innumerable sharp scales.

Elsewhere the daffodils have been deadheaded, a service we were unable to perform last year, and although this year’s show was very good it wasn’t perhaps as good as it was in the past. The RHS and Monty Don advising that by removing the seed head all the energy the plant obtains from the sun can be stored in the bulb for next year. In addition to the usual sweeping tidying there has been some fence painting and the tulip beds in the Children’s Garden have been cleared in preparation for summer planting.

Initially, unable to use the Visitors’ Centre or Café, the ever-prepared Volunteers had come armed with flasks and snacks to lubricate and sustain the all-important catch-up conversations at the end of our work. It has been a long year and it was so lovely to see so many friends (both with a big F and a little f!) again.

Despite Mike and his team’s hard work there is still much for the Volunteers to get stuck into over the coming weeks. New members are always welcome, come down and join us any Wednesday from 10 am.

Alex Taylor.