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Volunteers' Blog - August & September 2022

You may have read, in the last blog from the Volunteers, that we spent a number of weeks working with Peter and the other gardeners to remove Himalayan balsam from the garden. And although, we believe we have been largely successful, it is necessary to remain vigilant. Therefore, over the past few weeks we have continued to seek out any remaining plants within the garden, pulling them before they set seed. Although we acknowledge that the job isn’t over and removing this invasive plant will be a recurring occupation over the coming years, we trust that over time it will become less prevalent.

Elsewhere we have been working to tidy up the paths and paved areas around the terrace. Much of this has been by weeding using hand tools and wire brushes.

However, we have also been experimenting with salt. A not too scientific investigation has taken place with cooking salt being applied in solution and rock salt in its natural state to areas that have been weeded. So far, the results have been very encouraging with the salt seemingly inhibiting the regrowth of weeds. Using this natural ingredient, rather than a manufactured chemical, will, it is hoped, keep the paths and paved areas clear of weeds for longer than normal.

After the success of Himalayan balsam pulling earlier in the year the Volunteers again joined forces with the gardening team to weed the wildflower meadow. First the heads of the wildflowers were soundly thrashed with sticks to release their seeds then the stalks raked into piles.

On a lovely sunny day our job was to remove any grasses and other weeds (wildflowers not required in the wildflower meadow) before the whole area was rotavated and reseeded for next year. In addition to clearing the ground of extraneous vegetation the hedge behind the meadow has been lowered allowing more light into the area. We hope that all this work will result in a display that will be good, if not better, than last year.

We have continued, throughout the past couple of months, to tend the plants on the terrace. This area is for many the highlight of the Garden, somewhere to sit with a coffee and perhaps a cake surrounded by beautiful plants. The Volunteers pay particular attention to this area: deadheading those flowers that have gone over, sweeping and generally trying to keep the place tidy. After all it is where we go for a coffee and a chat after all that hard work – sometimes we are joined by a red breasted friend.

If you would like to join the Volunteers, you will be made very welcome. We meet on Wednesday mornings at 10 am in the Garden just outside the Visitors Centre. Do join us.

Alex Taylor
Volunteer Coordinator.