Tuesday 12 March 2013
This was the first team day for nearly two years. This one was organized by Jonathan and was different from the usual one. We started off with a very informative and interesting 45 minute tour and talk with Neil, our Head Gardener. He told us about the plans and projects, present and future, for the gardens (I will have to do a separate diary on this soon). Twenty people, gardeners, Steps to Work and volunteers then started working in the Spanish Garden. Jonathan had made out a list of things to be done (in other words everything). Pruning Paeonia, lifting Miscanthus, Kirengeshoma and Hosta, manuring ground, dividing and replanting. Lifting and dividing Arundo donax, replanting and mulching. Cutting back Mentha and Erysimum. Lifting sick Schefflera, mulching Casita beds, tidying Kniphofia, pruning Hydrangea. Preparing planting station for Phygelius, cleaning cobbles, sweeping down steps and tidying up all the beds. We were given specific instructions for all the jobs but could move around from one to the other and so work with other volunteers, which is one of the purposes of the exercise. This worked very well.
It was amazing how much work 20 people got through. Usually we are split up into 3 or 4 teams but this time we all worked in the same place. It didn’t seem like hard work as there was great chat and fun (and a bit of groaning) going on at the same time.
We had a cordon bleu lunch provided by everyone. We all made a bit of an effort so it wasn’t just doorstep sandwiches and an apple. Jon Kerr, Property Manager, joined us for lunch and said appreciative things about the volunteers and how Mount Stewart couldn’t manage without us. We all know how precious we are but it is something we do like to hear repeated again and again.
No rest yet, though, so we ended up in the Spanish Garden again to finish off the work. We got all the jobs on Jonathan’s (very long) list finished. Jonathan put a lot of thought and work into organizing this very successful volunteers team day and it was appreciated by us all. So thank you Jonathan. We are hoping to hold him to his idea that we should do this every six months.