I hope you are all keeping well and coping with the restrictions that the current crisis has placed upon us.
As we all need distractions at this difficult time I have come up with an idea of sending out a weekly newsletter with highlights from each of the last 10 years. I started volunteering at Myddelton in May 2010 and very quickly fell in love with every inch of the garden. So this is not an editorial or a complete account of what has happened but more a personal recollection of the events that I have been privileged to witness. The Heritage Lottery Funded Restoration project started in Spring 2009 and was well under way during 2010 being largely completed by March 2011.
My first visit to the garden was in May 2009. I didn't take many photos that day but this was the best one showing the wisteria in full flower, photo 1. After my visit I read up on the garden and discovered that they were recruiting volunteers so as I had just taken early retirement I decided that after my 'gap year' I would sign up. The first few months were a real eye opener as there was so much to see and learn about the garden and the restoration. I started taking photos in October 2010 so that is when my story begins. The lower part of the garden had not been touched for some time so had become completely covered in thick undergrowth. Someone came up with the idea of bringing some pigs down from Holyfield Farm in Waltham Abbey, part of the Lee Valley Regional Park, to tackle the dense vegetation that covered the entire area. Pigs have a habit of eating anything and everything and love nothing better than to root about continuously all day long. They did a splendid job, photos 2 and 3 (Oct 2010).
There was a huge, almost herculean, task ahead of the garden team led by the then head gardener, Andrew Turvey. Here is the view from the Kitchen Garden towards the Rock Garden although it does look a bit like the road to nowhere here, photo 4 (Oct 2010). The Rose Garden area was very overgrown too, photo 5 (Oct 2010). Although the view of the house across the pond has remained timeless, photo 6 (Oct 2010). In front of the Pond Terrace the Cortaderia selloana, known as pampas grass, photo 7 (Oct 2010), still looks the same today. The trees and plants in the Headache Tree bed, photo 8 (Oct 2010) also have a timeless quality about them.
Who remembers the Field Bed?? This was a large area of mixed planting in front of the gardeners' yard. The far end of it can be seen here in photo 9 (Oct 2010). In the background is the fabulous Fraxinus angustifolia Raywood, known as Raywood Ash.
Moving on to the Front Lawn area I found this photo showing part of one of the huge cedar trees, photo 10 (Oct 2010). You can hardly see the house at all. The cedar was badly damaged in a storm and had to be cut down in July 2017. Next is the cedar tree on the other side of the Front Lawn, photo 11 (Oct 2010). This one had the top third removed in early 2013 to make it safe.
The Rock Garden was also in the early stages of being restored. These photos show that the paths had been uncovered and the shapes of the mounds could be seen quite clearly, photos 12, 13 and 14 (Nov 2010). The pine tree shown here in photo 15 (Nov 2010) shows that it was nearly twice as tall as it is now. Again, it has been pruned to make it safe. The first snowdrops appeared in November that year, photo 16, followed of course by many more.
Moving onto the Asylum I found then, as we do today, a robin ready to follow my progress around the garden, photo 17. Nearby was the Ilex aquifolium 'Ferox Argentea', know as Hedgehog Holly, because of the small spines it has on the top of the leaf as well as along the edges, photo 18 (Dec 2010). Then I came across a photo showing the bed that was in front of the Araucaria araucana or Monkey puzzle tree, photo 19 (Dec 2010). This was removed in early 2012. Many of the plants were saved and moved to other areas in the garden. Photo 20 was taken in October 2010 and shows the border that runs along side Bowling Green Lawn which has been replanted and is now known as the Eremurus Border.
Finally, just before Christmas 2010 it snowed so of course I rushed up to the garden to take photos. Photo 21 is the Rose Garden. The Market Cross is proudly displaying its newly acquired top. Photo 22 shows the Kitchen Garden looking quite flat and ready for the next stage in it's life. Photo 23 is the New River Lawn with a squirrel bouncing across it and photo 24 show the shapes of the box edged beds of the Tulip Terrace. This was later affected by the box blight and had to be removed. The view from the house across the pond hasn't changed over the years and you can just make out the Taxodium distichum, or Swamp cypress as it is more commonly known, photo 25. The Arboretum was just taking shape too with the young silver birches standing along side the 5 'bowling balls' and a couple of picnic benches, photo 26. Then last of all the Visitors Centre was nearing completion, photo 27. Not quite finished but it wouldn't be long before it welcomed its first customers.
Well, that's it! A whistle stop tour of 2010. Did you remember it all?
Hope you enjoyed this wander down memory lane.
Wishing you all a Happy Easter.