Monday, 17 January 2011

Out and about

It was a lovely week last week - despite the weather!  Firstly a bit of work news.  I've mentioned in previous blogs a little bit about the dementia project I'm involved with.  Well one or two activities at least.  The great news is that we now have a date to start work on redeveloping the garden at the care home; it's an essential element to the project.  The project's aim is to reconnect people with dementia, living in a care home, with their local community.  We're using outdoor environments to do this; in particular enhancing the garden at the home so that it not only provides for the needs of the residents, care staff and relatives but also so that it can provide a great space for community events and activities.   It all starts on the 25th of this month and I can't wait!!!  I'll keep making notes of it's progress on my blog so if anyone's interested keep an eye out for future updates.

Okay, moving away from work, I'm still not getting much done in the garden at the moment. It's still too dark for me to do anything during the week and this weekend's weather hasn't been helpful either. So on Saturday I visited Heligan Gardens; The Lost Gardens of Heligan, to give it it's proper name.  I have a real soft spot for Heligan.  I was initially based there when I came to Cornwall 17 years ago to work as a volunteer for the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV).  After two years of learning practical skills and running conservation holidays I was at a point where I needed to get paid employment and Heligan came to the rescue.  They offered me a job there and I began in the office before taking over organising and facilitating educational visits for schools and other educational establishments.

The Woodland Walk; a gentle giant awakes!
It isn't just the story behind the house and gardens that captures my heart with Heligan; it somehow has the ability to ease away my worries and make dark times seem easier to deal with. Maybe it's because there are so many different areas and each has an ability to provide for my needs on each visit.  The walled gardens (Vegetable, Melon Yard, Flower and Sundial) offer inspiration for my own garden.  The Jungle and Lost Valley provide areas for contemplation and places where you can just go to clear your head.  The Italian Garden, Woodland Walk, Northern Garden and Flora's Green are all places that are just a joy to be in. It's good for the soul, as they say.

Perhaps some of this is to do with the fact that I have a Witch Hazel, which is of great personal significance to me, planted in the Jungle Garden .  Every year I go and see how it's doing and to take photos of it, followed by an enjoyable, relaxing stroll around the various garden areas.  When one of my friends saw these photos she said it looked like it was singing it's heart out - what a wonderful expression!

the glorious flowers of my Witch Hazel
my Witch Hazel in full bloom

This visit I headed for the Jungle first, then up to the wildlife centre where you can watch the birds feeding, use cameras to see view further afield or watch the latest video footage of nesting birds or rare 'visitors'.  A stroll through the Italian Garden before heading up through the Melon Yard and Vegetable Garden and my therapy session was complete.

And finally yesterday I went for a walk with Sue, my next door neighbour and her two children; the other members of the Tywardreath Highway Gardening Team (see October 2010 blog 'Sunday Sunshine' and December 2010 blog 'Holly and Ivy').  We decided to re-visit the walk in the Luxulyan Valley, near the viaduct.  At which point the rain decided to arrive earlier than expected and accompany us on our walk. Typical!

The waterfall, December 2010

Last time on the walk, it was cold and icy but the sun was out; the leats were full and were feeding the man-made waterfall where it tumbled over the edge, spraying our faces as it hit the bottom.  This time, the sluice gate at the viaduct was open and the water trickled along the leats in a lazy fashion; the waterfall reduced to a small flow.

The waterfall January 2011

Our wellies made sucking sounds in the mud (thankfully no-one ended up face down in the mud; nearly - but not quite!) and the wind constantly whipped our hoods off our heads but nothing could detract from an enjoyable morning spent walking in the woods.

mud, mud, glorious mud!

You have to watch your step!

water runs through the sluice to join the river below

Like I said, it's been a lovely week. But my fingers are crossed for some better weather soon and a chance for the earth to dry out a little - I miss digging in my garden!

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