Sunday, May 25, 2008

May update

Everywhere in the garden things are bursting forth, with plants and weeds enjoying the alternate rain and sun. The herbal maze is in flower, the potatoes are beautifully heaped, and the fruit is ripening promisingly.

We had a bit of a surprise a few weeks ago when we suddenly heard that we would no longer have access to the greenhouses during working hours, so we needed a very urgent complete re-think of the way we work. If the kids were no longer able to pot up and sow seeds in the greenhouse, what would happen to our seed-sowing timetable? Luckily we recalled seeing a roll of old polytunnel cover in the back sheds, and with the help of the building contractors, UPM Tilhill (thanks guys!) we covered the decrepit shade tunnel and transformed it – with a lot of hard work – into our new greenhouse replacement. Just in time for a torrential downpour during the school session last Thursday.

We also have a new tadpole tank, with some of the fattest tadpoles in town, and they are enjoying weekly free-range steak off-cuts from Mackens that send them into a piranha-like frenzy that is scary to behold. Don't put your hand in the tank kids..

Other park news
Building work has started. The portakabins in the back yards are almost gone, and construction of an enormous new compost heap is to start soon. The path alongside the lake is being re-routed and re-surfaced. The bricked-up arch from the A4 car park is reopened, and this now forms the new entry from the car park. The archaeologists in front of the café are happily digging away, logging and photographing the remains of the old service wing (stables, brewery, etc), and the volerie (Lady Burlington’s bird garden), old walls, pathways and drains.
The geese have had goslings, the moorhens have chicks, the mallards as usual have nothing. This year, after rolling two eggs off a sloping nest into the lake, the swans finally produced two cygnets, only for the male swan to die earlier this week, probably by crashing into the bridge defending his brood. The single mother is now working over-time; if you can’t see the cygnets, they may well be hiding on her back where they are almost invisible.