Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Camas Garden Weeks

Camas Garden Week

The saying many hands make like work was put to the test this garden week at Camas, we had a huge mixed group of people from all over the world including Chicago, Germany, Italy, Poland, Switzerland and two groups from Glasgow and one from Edinburgh all come to help us put our gardens to bed for the winter. With nearly 40 hands on deck we were able to combine garden and tack work with climbing and kayaking sessions ensuring lots of work and play mixed in equal measure with bundles of cake!
Avril was in her ditch digging element as work on the track was under steady progress throughout the week. The satisfaction of being up to your knees in bog was not lost on our team of volunteers who managed to get the drains flowing through sheer effort and a few songs. The work on the drains means that over the winter they won’t flood and the track should remain relatively dry!  
Meanwhile, in the garden…
With such an enthusiastic bunch we had many garden projects happening simultaneously and managed to accomplish a huge amount of structural maintenance, as well as giving the garden beds the attention they needed after a long and productive summer. The real beginnings of this work started with a group of volunteers from Caledonian Woodlands who came for and long weekend and lots of hard graft.
The Caledonian team set to work pollarding the huge Aspen trees at the top of the garden which we then completed during garden week. The trees were planted as a wind break for the garden but had grown so tall they were shading out a lot of the fruit cage and lazy beds, after having a severe trim, the fruit cage can now bask in next year’s summer sun, and the trees will re-grow from the cut points in the spring. The tops of the trees that came off were put to good use: the larger branches were stacked and left to dry out for fire wood, the smaller ones were used to weave into the back fence to create more of a wind break for the baby trees, and whatever was left gave us a great evening around the bonfire!
Walking through the garden now, it is clear to see how much effort was put in over these last few weeks. Many hands really do make light work! In no particular order, our list of achievements includes: finishing the dry stone wall around the round house, laying the Hawthorne hedge behind the fruit cage, digging out the drains around the fruit cage and laying a French drain through it, creating steps up to the Pavilion shed, clearing out the brush from the woodlands, clearing around the fruit trees to let in more light, clearing the woodland pathways. Take a breath… All garden beds were weeded and cleared, adding a layer of compost, topsoil, seaweed and covering with weed matting to all rot down nicely over winter. We have made our winter supply of green tomato chutney, harvested and preserved sorrel, nettle and mint for winter use and are continuing to eat fresh food from the polytunnels.
Also we managed to squeeze in a day out in the sun on Iona and Ardanalish! Wowzers!
A huge and heartfelt thank you to all those involved, this work is really what keeps Camas running and progressing each year. I feel confident in the knowledge that the Camas gardens are well prepped for a restful winter! Thank you!