Archive for May, 2021

How many SSNTV Anniversary sweatshirts can you count? Workday leader Matthew describes a day spent at least in part “in the green”…..

Our task was moving snowdrops from the woods by the right of the main entrance to a spot beside an old chestnut tree at Visitor Reception. However, this task was not as easy as it seemed. First of all, we had to actually find the snowdrops which were apparently growing in abundance….. 

Word had obviously gone out that SSNTV were coming and a large quantity of elder had shot up to cover a great deal of the snowdrop bulblets. ….Isn’t it a little late in the year to be lifting snowdrops ‘in the green’… I hear you say. But since we’ve had the coldest April on record and are probably heading for the coldest May too, we just about got away with it. (I saw some daffodils in full bloom on Saturday, 22nd!). The pesky elders were soon dispatched and the snowdrops lifted in ever increasing numbers.

A system of bucket to wheel-barrow; wheel-barrow to strong seed trays; and trays to trailer saw the first of three large batches ready for transportation up to visitor reception. Some volunteers had ‘enjoyed’ an F1-style trip down to the woods earlier in one of the vehicular ‘mules’ courtesy of gardener Duncan, whilst others had a much smoother journey down thanks to Danni. As Danni returned to gardening tasks, Duncan’s boneshaker would have to serve as the vehicle to take us and the precious snowdrops back up the main drive ready for planting for the rest of the day.

The replanting of the snowdrops caused much excitement amongst passing Attingham visitors, with of course, children leading the way with a variety of questions. …One had been lifting bulbs at school recently – ah ha.., a volunteer of the future spotted!!

Thanks to all at Attingham for an enjoyable day. Big thanks came from Duncan too, for a job well done.  Let’s hope that there is a wonderful display under the old chestnut in January 2022!

Oh, yes…and the other question I hear you asking….how many did you move? Answer: thousands – too many to count!

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A full programme of workdays through until September is now published on the Events page of the SSNTV website.

Existing group members will know what to do.

Intrigued by what you read here / on the website? Been sitting indoors too much during lockdown ?

Why not try one of our workdays, there’s something for everyone! No obligation, no cost – just bring yourself ! Details of how to get in touch are on the website / via this link. There might well even be cake 🎂 !!

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Your editor, NT pickup driver and for one Sunday, workday leader reports on the latest efforts by the Group:

Sunday saw the current trend of April showers continue into May at the Morville Hall, Bridgnorth work restart. A sizeable group some of whom as requested, packed their secateurs and trugs turned out to help the tenants keep the actively growing garden under control in advance of possible NGS open days later this summer. If they were a little rusty about what to pack for a workday, the heavy showers that kept popping up, will have made sure waterproofs are still on the list!

There were plenty of tasks to choose from – this being our first return trip since lockdown – but we could start with complimenting tenants Melanie and family for keeping on top of a large number of jobs despite the restrictions of Covid.

All volunteer tastes could be catered for.  Some climbed the ladders to prune hollies to good effect.

Others picked up spades and forks to tend around some of the rose bushes growing along the grassy garden banks.

To the workday leader’s delight, some even volunteered for weeding – meaning he didn’t have to do it himself!  The ladies mostly, ensconced themselves between the patterns of ornamental box and gradually made the contrasting leafy green stand out more clearly from the brown gravel throughout the day.

Towards the small orchard there were tasks to remove the weeds, cut back the ivy from the walls as well as start to prune and tidy some of the many fruit trees and shrubs.

With powered strimmer in hand – well actually hanging from both shoulders – Dave thought he’d spotted an orchid amongst the long grass – but no, after closer inspection – the purple petals turned out to be a wood hyacinth, better known as a spanish bluebell – what an imposter! 

Is it an orchid hidden in the grass?…Nope: just a bluebell!

Still plenty work left for next time at this site, after the holiday at the end of this month…..

PS: Had a nice note of thanks from Melanie in appreciation of the Group’s efforts – she’s already looking forward to the next visit in June!

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Workday leader Matthew reports:

COVID regs meant the lucky 6 SSNTV’ers drawn from the proverbial hat, with by the afternoon Leela in addition, masquerading as a local volunteer, were the ones challenged to clear trees, bracken and undergrowth beside one of the walls of the kitchen garden, adjacent to the Walled Garden complex, as this area is won back and future public access expanded. With the sun appearing for a while, it was a nice task to undertake; revealing the fine old wall and engaging in the usual banter. 

Once in a while, a train hurtled past on its way between London and Manchester. Interestingly, there seemed to be more trains in the morning, with one particularly loud diesel goods train laden with ballast. I marvelled at this feat of engineering, famously passing through the Shugborough Estate. The nearby Sher Brook stream even passes over the line on its own aqueduct.

One or two volunteers managed to wander off to look at the bee hives which are located between the kitchen garden and railway. 

At one point, I thought that we had lost volunteer Ron, but he was found next to a building which was being engulfed by bracken. All of a sudden he was gathering helpers for his masterplan of cutting some bracken and pulling it together with a rake. How well it worked, as soon a large ball was making its way towards the bonfire. 

…There’s a volunteer in there somewhere..!

Unfortunately we also managed to evict a family of mice which had taken up residence in an old black sack. No doubt they will have no problem upgrading to a more eco-friendly home.

NT man for all tasks, James assured us that our next visit will be subject to new Covid guidance, so that by the end of May with a maximum of 30, everyone keen to cut and burn can come along!

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Want more peace of mind as workdays get back underway?…. Want to know that you aren’t inadvertently spreading the lurgy? Or be sure you haven’t caught something on a workday?

If you don’t have specific Covid symptoms you can organise yourself a home test, a Lateral Flow Test – there’s more detail here:

If you do have symptoms you’ll need a different kind of test – PCR (there are more details in the same NHS website link).

FYI: on the grounds of being well informed, your Editor has tried out the former and is pleased to report he’s Covid free!

Enjoy your cutting & burning (..and gardening..) safely

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