Sunday, April 24, 2011

Celebrating Spring

We had a flurry of activities one Wednesday scheduled to ring in spring (though note that we're still wearing our winter coats in most of the photos!).

First, we could take a tour of the Walled Garden (which Cooper calls the Walter Garden).  The Walled Garden sits along the manor's driveway, and is surrounded, as you might guess, by a twelve-ish-foot-high wall.  The manor's head gardener lives in a cottage inside the wall, so the garden isn't generally open to the public.

There's not much going on right now in the Walled Garden, but the gardening staff (all three of them) have done a tremendous amount of work in there.  About ten years ago, someone cleaned out the garden and prettied it up for a television program, and then no one touched it for about eight years.  Two years ago, the staff started working on it again, and had to hack through ten-foot-high brush and ivy and weeds that had completely overtaken the garden.

The Walled Garden was built at the same time as the manor (1830s), and was largely for fruits and vegetables for the manor.  Many of the tall walls were designed to support fruit trees.  You can see small brackets every so often along the top of this wall, which held the fruit tree branches in position.
The brick wall was hollow, and a boiler (fire pit) in one portion of the wall was used to heat the fruit trees in cold months.  (Note in the above photo the ivy and weeds still on the top of the wall and in the middle, and imagine that covering all six acres of the garden.  Oof.)

This is one of the original fruit trees, no longer bearing fruit, but still in the T-shape that the fruit trees would have been pruned to allow for easy harvesting.

To honor spring, local school children came to do several May pole dances:
They were quite good.  (Though I do find it amusing that the weather was so cold and wet that the "Spring is Here" event had to be moved into the gym!)

Another sign of spring -- baby lambs!
We got to see this one poop, which was a big hit with the under-five crowd.

Finally, we had a big Spring Equinox bonfire.  (It wasn't actually on the spring equinox; we just needed a catchy name to stay within the theme of the day.)
Alan looks sad (wearing his winter coat and stocking cap) thinking about all the heat being lost instead of being used to heat the manor.

Coop was just excited about the marshmellows!

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