On the southern lower terrace west of the mansion, the reconstruction of the perimeter path has rounded the southwest corner and is now heading for the southern temple. It is hoped to lay the built-up ground in the middle to lawn this year.
On the opposite side of the terraces a new sculptural sundial base has been erected surmounted with an armillary sphere, which was donated by Kay Rush in memory of her husband Charles Rush, first chairman of the Friends (see article, opposite page). On the adjacent Great Lawn, we have regrettably had to fell two old trees which were completely rotten and dangerous. We had monitored these for years and the decision was taken after much discussion with the council and our tree surgeon. As consolation we have planted one replacement tree with another to follow. On a brighter note, all the four cedars of Lebanon we have planted are thriving.
In the Long Garden one of the trustees has built a fine timber shelter where one previously existed. Apart from its attractiveness, this shelter is useful for the gardeners when it rains – as there is no other shelter nearby. On a sad note, the squirrels have once again eaten all the tulip bulbs. Otherwise the garden continues to amaze visitors with its herbaceous long bed and flowering trees and bushes – all cared for by three hard-working volunteers.
In the Walled Kitchen Garden we have erected the specially made steel espalier fencing either side of one of the paths that divide the quarters. This was funded by the Hatfield Heath Horticultural Society. We are hoping to obtain funding for identical fencing on the southern path opposite, which leads to the elaborate wrought iron gates – see Wish List.
Work on the second glasshouse has advanced, with over half the glasshouse now complete. Unlike the first glasshouse to be restored, this glasshouse is not built of teak apart from its sill. As a consequence there was much rotten wood to replace. The whole operation is a labour of love.
Throughout the Walled Kitchen Garden more beds have been created, with the bed beside the northern part of the eastern perimeter path now under construction. Work continued even in the snow! Of course, more beds require more volunteers, but Copped Hall is such a multi-faceted project – gardens, mansion, archaeology, study days, concerts, etc. – that volunteers find much to interest them. In fact two of the Walled Kitchen Garden volunteers are also guides in the mansion.
As many readers will know, the tall yew trees that formed King Henry’s Walk were mostly cut down for the timber around 1950 when the gardens were asset stripped. We replanted them in 1998 and many are now much taller than a person. Other, less-established yews have unfortunately been attacked by deer and rabbits and they have had to be replaced with new trees. However, in spite of this, the overall effect now is definitely of a yew walk that encloses people walking down it in its own environment – a key feature of the garden reinstated.