JUNE 2003

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While I was on my working holiday in Wasdale in mid-May 2003, I got a call from the Volunteers Office asking if I could possibly lead another holiday at Wallington at the beginning of June, because they hadn't been able to find a leader. So that's why I ended up doing two working holidays in Northumberland in the space of less than two months. This second one turned out to be an Oak Holiday, pitched at over-35s, so I was the youngest participant.

It was another gardening holiday. We were working for John Ellis, the Head Gardener, and his team (Philippa, John, David, Simon, and Tracy). They were all great, and so was the weather. The majority of our work for the week was in the formal walled garden at Wallington, though we also did bits and pieces elsewhere in the grounds and a half day in the Gertrude Jekyll garden at Lindisfarne, for which Philippa and John also have responsibility.

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Around the gardens at Wallington
Walled garden The top part of the walled garden.
Conservatory Inside the conservatory.
Hot border Hot border Whole group
The "hot" border, outside the conservatory, where the flowers are mostly in shades of red and yellow. We removed the wallflowers, dug over the beds and refilled them with dahlias. The second picture shows Eileen and Jane at work, and the third picture shows the whole group in front of the replanted border. Back: Eoin, Keith, Eileen, David; front: Carole, Jane, Ollie, Charlotte, Lynne.

Mixing compost The Circle - before The Circle - after
One of our jobs was to shift a number of large wooden tubs, which had been removed for repainting, back down to a part of the garden called the Circle. They then had to be filled with compost (mixed by ourselves, first photo) and planted up for the summer, along with the central container and border.

Charlotte planting Charlotte doing some planting in the winter garden.
Carole pruning Carole pruning some bushes that had grown out over half the width of the path.
Ollie + hedgehog Ollie with a hedgehog that she'd found apparently suffering from dehydration / heat exhaustion.
Garden pond Looking down Garden Pond towards the walled garden.
David & ducklings David feeding a brood of ducklings at Garden Pond.
Baby moorhen A young moorhen on Garden Pond.
Raking up grass Raking up newly-cut grass that had been left to grow long where the spring bulbs had been.
Jane on mower Jane using a ride-on mower to transport gravel for top-dressing a new section of path.

As this was only a five-day holiday (there'd been some kind of administrative cock-up and the basecamp had got double-booked for the weekend), we only had a half-day off. We spent the morning doing some weeding in the Gertrude Jekyll garden at Lindisfarne Castle. The garden has recently been restored to the original design (or as close as is possible with the plants available today), but is currently still recovering from the foot and mouth outbreak, when it had to be left to its own devices and the weeds took over.
Garden from castle The Gertrude Jekyll garden at Lindisfarne, as seen from the castle.
Garden with castle in background Looking across the garden to the castle.
In the garden In the garden.
Poppies Poppies in the garden.

Time off
The bridge A walk around the estate: the old bridge on the road leading towards Wallington Hall.
Stepping stones Ollie and David crossing the river near the bridge.
In the playground In the playground
Ollie and Jane in the adventure playground.
In the pub In the pub
An evening at the pub in Elsdon.
Alnwick Castle gardens Afternoon off: the cascades at Alnwick Castle gardens.
Alnwick Castle Alnwick Castle. (The broomstick lesson in the first Harry Potter film was filmed just on the other side of the wall closest to the camera.)
Final night In the basecamp on the final night of the holiday, with most of the gardeners.
Wine bar A visit to the local "wine bar" - mugs of tea at the café tables in the courtyard.

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© Lynne Donaldson
This page last edited 1st August 2003