Christmas Get Together
It has been two years since our last Christmas get together in December 2019. It was so lovely to be able to finally meet and celebrate Christmas, and to thank our volunteers, staff and friends of the garden, and celebrate the past two years of Marwood’s achievements. We were able to Skype with John and Libby Snowdon the garden owners and it was fascinating to hear his recollections of the changes to Marwood over the years. It is also a nice reminder that Marwood Hill Gardens is very much family home and business, a business that we all share a sense of ownership in. It was also a chance for everyone to gather to celebrate the past 16 years of Patricia Stout being the Property Manager at Marwood Hill Gardens before she leaves her role in early January. We will welcome Georgia, Business Manager in January 2022 and the whole team are excited to see how she will personalise her role.
It was a day of speeches, and the event was opened (via Skype) by the owners John and Libby, who recounted a brief history of the garden spanning from the death of Dr Smart in 2002, the arrival of Patricia, briefly outlining the successes and challenges faced by the business during this time.
Patricia has steered the business though many triumphs including the creation of Marwood’s carpark and was involved in many flower show competitions, including the Devon County Show, she Introduced events to the garden, including weddings and theatre as well as developing the garden tearoom. Turning it from a home and private collection of plants into a self-sustaining business and one of North Devon’s foremost attractions.
I wandered round the garden early after the last set of storms (storm Arwen and Barra in late November). Expecting the worst, was pleasantly surprised to find our trees had ‘weathered the storm’. It was then I stumbled on our Gardener, Lin, staring down at a long dead Popular tree that had fallen in the recent storm in the herbaceous borders. I managed to kick this apart with just my gardening boots showing just how weak the tree had become after years of standing tall supported by the wall and vines. After further exploration a total of 8 trees were down, mainly in the shelter belt and at fringes of garden.
The main issue is what to do with the waste. If not processed it would build up and needs to be dealt with quickly. So much fallen wood must be either burnt, large logs stacked, smaller branches chipped. Malcolm has been continuously collecting and transporting this material to our yard.
Main jobs in the garden
- Cutting back in the herbaceous borders, and across the garden. Every year the border is edited, with some plants removed, making way for new plantings. This year Peta (gardener) is removing the last few pink and reds in the display such as Hersperatha and Crocosmia. These plants looked at odds with the blue, silver and white theme. A large clump of Eupatorium purpurea was removed and many established clumps of Iris sibirica. The lifted plants need to be potted and labelled and are sold in our plant sales area.
- Final leaf clear. We collect them regularly and often to ensure they are nice and dry and easy to rake. Rather than wet half decomposed.
- All the trees fall need chopping up, transporting, burning or chipping. A big job!! What to do with the waste.
- Cutting back hellebores in preparation for their flowering.
- Digging up plants such as the popular Clerodendron bungei for sale
The team at Marwood would like to wish the community, our season ticket holders and visitors a lovely Christmas and new year.