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Garden Progress

Since I first walked into the gardens at Farley Hospital a huge amount of work has been completed to reinvigorate them by a small group of residents, trustees and volunteers. This post is going to give you an idea of what we started with and where we’ve got to, so far. It covers what’s been going on with the formal gardens, the lawn and the compost heaps in sections below. Enjoy 😀

The Wardenry garden was, to say the least, “scruffy” when we started work at the turn of the year 2020/21. A previously well kept formal garden had been over-taken with weeds and the lawn was out of control.

Overgrown lawn
scruffy formal gardens
gravel terrace with weeds

There are photographs of the formal gardens from a few years ago and they are a truly beautiful thing when properly maintained. The lawn had even hosted tennis matches however all that was lost by a year with no attention or maintenance. Weeds had found their way into most of the gravel pathways, the flower-beds were a muddle of mature plants and weeds and the larger shrubs and trailing plants were a mess. Time to get back on top of things…

Formal beds

As the weather began to improve in Spring we all started to potter about in the garden. Working out what was living, what was dead, what was in it’s right place and what was not.

The formal beds and ewe topiary had already had a trim in the pictures above, but the rest of their contents were in need of attention. Attention they got! The team have worked wonders clearing beds and removing all the weeds from the gravel. Both tasks have taken a long time to complete, but they have produced amazing results.

The tidied gardens from a Wardenry window

The gardens are now prepared for the Summer and we are ready to keep the gardens neat and tidy to see what pops it’s head up, hopefully another flower to join the rest in the garden.

Stephen Fox, the founder of the Farley Hospital had a natural love for gardens, he created and tended a beautiful garden at his House in Chiswick, parts of which still exists to this day.  The formal gardens at Farley Hospital were created by a previous warden and were inspired by this link and love of gardens.

The lawn

OK OK, it’s true, I’m obsessed with the lawn! To continue from my previous mowing post, the photo above illustrates the next tasks that needed undertaking to sort things out. If you look closely you can see a circle with a cross in it that takes up the whole right side of the lawn. This was previously an extension of the flower gardens, but it had been damaged in the notorious floods of previous years and was buried under grass and other greenery. After my mow you could see the shape of the former beds, but the problem remained.. it was still an uneven mess!

The ditch in the lawn

As you can see in this photo, there was a ditch that formed all of the shapes you could see in the lawn. It was about 30cm (1ft) deep and what had once been beds were above the level of the rest of the lawn. This is a large area and there was no easy way to flatten the lawn out…

Until Steve Furness came along to level it with some proper industrial equipment! The grass was scraped off the whole area and new top-soil added to level out the area, including a grassless patch where a bonfire and pile of garden clippings had been sitting.

The subsequent progress is shown in the gallery below. We suddenly had a lovely flat patch of ground almost ready to receive some seed and become a lawn! The area needed to be sifted to remove stones, and then further levelled with a home made ‘lute’. The whole area was finally sown with grass seed on Thursday 29th April 2021. At time of writing that was a week ago. We seeded the lawn just as the heavens opened and we’ve had a week of rain which is excellent news. We’ve also had a few pretty cold nights, so fingers crossed we see some green shoots in the next few days so our lawn can get started ready of the Summer!

Compost Heap

Compost is an important commodity in any garden and fortunately there is one by the old stables in the Wardenry Gardens. Steve Furness turned it for the first time in many years with his digger, but it needed some further TLC and we’re in the process of doing just that.

There had been a huge pile of compost that was piled against a wall. Steve moved the heap to give the old wall a chance of surviving and I’ve excavated the back, with the aim of installing wire mesh to keep the wall safe. I also want to divide the area into three. A bay for ready compost, one for the maturing heap and one for new cuttings. I measured the area and to my surprise and satisfaction I found the remains of a previous 3 bin arrangement rotting nicely under the pile!

All the stinging nettles got removed and the blue plastic should keep things weed free for a while to come.

Round up

So, as per usual, we still have a long way to go, but a Winter and Spring spent tidying have set the Wardenry gardens up for the Summer… As soon as the grass starts to grow!

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