January Garden Update

Lots has been happening in the Halsway Gardens and Grounds during the winter.  Volunteers led by Graham & Maureen have cleared the main flower borders of tall plants near the front, crocosmia and other invasive plants.  Mulch will be added shortly!

In 2018 we plan to grass seed the flower border below the croquet lawn that has now been completely dug out. Martin has added a trellis to the wall in the hopes of encouraging the rose, and also has the wisteria behaving nicely!

Graham has started laying the hawthorn hedge on Halsway Lane, using hazel poles and binders coppiced from the bank behind the offices; it’s looking good!

At last we’ve installed pairs of 8′ X 8′ leaf and compost bins in 2 corners of the water garden, for Robert to put 2018’s garden stuff into, and for us to make good use of in time.

The recent woodland management course (run by Quantock Hills AONB as part of Stage 1 of Halsway’s HLF project) was attended by many of our regular volunteers and has provided some inspiration as to how we might use the woodland behind the Manor better. The plan is to encourage under-storey growth and plant hedging along the perimeters which will encourage wildlife and more healthy woodland, and to create walks and glades for people to enjoy. Over the New Year Break all the coppicing brash was placed to form a “wind row” (temporary hedge) along the woodland, parallel to the back of the Manor to offer shelter to animals, birds and insects, and to give an idea where a future track will be. The “dead stump” area cut in preparation for the activity centre is good news for wildlife too, providing habitat for insects, fungi, mosses and lichens, which in turn is great news for hungry birds! Maureen has also begun using hazel poles to lay an “Interactive maze” in the area; visitors are encouraged to add to/change the pattern.

The two special apple trees have been decorated in preparation for the imminent Wassailing season. Our older tree is a Quarrenden variety planted by the Friends of Halsway Manor in 2005. A second tree was added more recently in memory of Len Luckwill, a long term friend and supporter of Halsway; the tree is a Cheddar Cross, a species from the Long Ashton Fruit Research Centre where Len had worked.

There’s lots happening to maintain and simplify the gardens this year and we’re always looking for volunteers. If you can lend a hand please get in touch: office@halswaymanor.org.uk / 01984 618274 ext 1. Garden Volunteer Coordinator Maureen Knight organises a number of “garden/grounds days” and we publish these online here, but it’s also possible to drop-in at other times.