The Gardens and Grounds
In the Walled Kitchen Garden, a skilled volunteer (see Meet a Volunteer) has constructed a wide brick path adjacent to the raised bed in the northwest corner. This looks very impressive indeed.
Work has temporarily stopped on the reconstruction of the eastern end of the Orchard House due to lack of funds. So far we have spent over £28,000. We have a quantity of glazing bars made and ready to be fitted. We also have all the winding gear for the opening windows. These have been sand-blasted and painted with primer. We are hopeful that further funding can soon be obtained to move forward this very interesting project.
In the lower gardens we have started to infill some of the earlier archaeological diggings –particularly within the lawns. The investigations of the archaeologists (WEAG) are extremely helpful to the project - both in terms of understanding Old Copped Hall and previous structures but also with regard to the 17th century formal garden layout. The information that has been discovered has been recorded in detail and will be published.
In the southern lower terrace, west of the mansion, the bed and path beneath the retaining wall to the upper terrace has been cleared of stacked stonework and dumped soil. The weeds have immediately sprouted along the path but we will tackle that – even though we do not have Mr. Wythes’ 31 full-time gardeners. The path edging has been installed on one side of the path – see Meet a Volunteer.
Work has continued on re-establishing the original level of the mansion forecourt. The cobbled threshold beneath the southern grand gates has now been revealed. This has provoked much interest – see photograph below. The area adjacent - immediately south of the south garden to the mansion - has been an eyesore for many years with waste building material dumped there from time to time. All this has been cleared and the original 1895 path to the winter-garden coal-hole and boiler room steps is being recreated. A separate exit from the ridge car park has now been made which keeps cars away from the environs of the winter-garden which was an excellent building and could be restored in stages.
East of King Henry's Walk
I wrote in the last Newsletter an explanation of the work we had been doing over last winter to create the new ‘My Lady’s Walk’, an eastern perimeter path leading to a small (but growing!) Bluebell wood.
This last couple of months we have been busy creating an extension to that path, along the eastern perimeter wall towards the mansion - see picture below. There is evidence that there was a Tudor path along an earlier version of this wall.
Above this path, up a bank, there is a long narrow strip of land (behind the yews of King Henry’s Walk) I had for some time had the idea of creating a garden with a bit of an ‘Elizabethan flavour’, perhaps to include a small knot garden, along this strip, as it leads down to the earlier Tudor house.
As it is so narrow we have decided to divide it by four, eye level, Yew hedges, leaving three ‘rooms’, each of which will have a slightly different design but be in tune with each other. There will be highly fragrant Roses along the top of the bank and the bank down to the wall will, we hope, be full of wild flowers.
Inside the three rooms we intend to have a central, mown grass path (a further hard surfaced one would be too much) and to use more simple flowers, some of which would have been available in Elizabethan times.
As I write, the central room is nearly complete..... apart from the Yew’s growth! There will be seats in the area....so that you may stop and smell the Roses, which will be planted in Autumn. This new work will also have the benefit of extending easier access for our ambulant visitors.
From the start of work on ‘My Lady’s Walk’ to the present has taken nearly eleven months: surely, we have discovered the antidote to instant gardening.
Progress report Spring 2016
Progress report Autumn 2015
Progress report Spring 2015
Progress report Autumn 2014
Progress report Spring 2014
Progress report Autumn 2013
Progress report Spring 2013
Progress report Autumn 2012
Progress report Spring 2012
Progress report Autumn 2011