Although spring is clearly not here, BD and I have found a sheltered place to do a little gardening: The Bothy Walk. This would have been part of the entertainment when visiting Ballywalter Park back in the 19th century. When I first came here I knew it as a pretty walk, but then I had no input into the garden at all. When took up my role it was already rather overgrown. The grass was still cut, but that was often neglected by the groundsmen. Sometimes it was because it was very wet, so it could be mid-summer before they could drive down it with the mower. Other times it was because the rhododendrons on the west side of the Walk were growing into the grassed area making the Walk much more narrow. Then 6 years ago when we had our first intern Camille, now a landscape architect in London, together we spent a week or so cutting back with the help of Field Marshal Dillon. We discovered some steps that led to nowhere and we are now back on this clearing job. Only this time it is the east side of the Walk that needs attention.
We were hugely proud of our progress which you can see here. So, as our newest gardener AH was not busy today she agreed to lend a hand for a couple of hours. It always amazes me how much faster progress is clearing in the garden when you are 3. It was just so uplifting to cut, pull out and fill the Gator again and again. There are however, some worrying bits coming up. There are full ash trees growing on top of one of the buttresses, which could be a bad sign. Should it be really bad we will cut it and paint a little roundup on the stump in an effort to save that piece of wall.
Here are BD and AH getting to grips with too much ivy growing against this fabulous wall. The ridge tiles used to be cast in a mould by Field Marshal Dillon and I think we might ask him to teach us how, so we can do that to protect the wall. It is a very special wall because a little further up it becomes a cavity wall which was heated so the micro climate of the Walled Garden would be further enhanced. Making it possible for our predecessors to extend the season further.
At the end of today the first 30 metres of the Bothy Walk looked much better. The ivy on top of the wall will at least partially die back, but the worst is yet to come. I will keep you posted!