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Friday, 23 December 2011

A year at Wallington in 12 pictures - 2011

January 2011 - East Lawn and House.

February 2011 - East gate in Walled Garden.

March 2011 - Daffodils in the Walled Garden.

April 2011 - Red Crown Imperials in the Walled Garden.

May 2011 - Rhododendrons in East Wood.

June 2011 - Garden Pond looking through to Portico Walk.

July 2011 - Hot Border in the Walled Garden.

August 2011 - View from East Lawn looking towards Clock Tower.

September 2011 - Mary Pool in the Walled Garden.

October 2011 - House viewed from West Lawn.

November 2011 - A single rose in the Walled Garden.

December 2011 - Griffin Heads on East Lawn.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

A year at Wallington in pictures, December 2011 - part 13

As we approach the end of 2011, this series of blogs is nearly at their end. Over the year, I have taken hundreds of photographs around the grounds, woods and Walled Garden here at Wallington. My weekly visits to this popular National Trust property has allowed me to document the changes through the seasons.

View towards West Lawn in December - 08/12/2011.

My first visit to Wallington in December was on a wet and windy day. During my journey there was a great deal of standing water on the roads and fallen branches. The Metrological Office had issued a red warning for gale force winds in Scotland and an amber warning for the North East. The way the wind was when I arrived, it was certain that the property would not be opened.

Due to the poor weather, there was very little that could get completed outside, so I returned home after taking the above photograph of the House looking towards West Lawn, in black and white.

December came with the annual festive events in the House. The House could be seen illuminated  by "candlelight" on a Friday evening. For three weekends, the House was opened to see the Christmas decorations and for children, a visit to see Santa or listen to stories told by Mrs Santa. The final event of the year was a concert by The Belford Singers performing in the magnificent Central Hall.

In total over 2011, there have been 96 separate events staged here at Wallington. The events provided over this year, catered for the interests of all ages, I am sure that the National Trust staff will plan an equally fun packed and interesting year for 2012.

Courtyard and Clock Tower - 14/11/2011.

The year at Wallington is going to end in a similar way to its start here at Wallington. On my second visit following a night of severe gales, I was to see some of the damage. The car park exit road was blocked due to a fallen tree and other trees had been damaged in East Wood. It was to remind me of the 200 year old oak tree that fell in January and blocked the path to the Walled Garden by Garden Pond - a victim of the winter weather.

Victim of the overnight gales - 14/11/2011.
Armed with bowsaws, our job for today was to cut up fallen branches to make the job easier for the foresters when they come in with their chainsaws. Our final job of the day was to cover a bench beside China Pond and get three other benches under cover in the Potting Shed.

Returning visitors to Garden Pond - 14/11/2011.
My third visit to Wallington was not as a volunteer gardener! It was to take my grandson to see Santa. There was still some snow and ice at home, so we prepared for the same at Wallington. I took my camera with the thought that I would get some wintery pictures to finish off this series of blogs.

Christmas sunshine - 18/12/2011.
It was not to be. Although it had been a hard frost there was no evidence of any snow around the Courtyard and House. We were the first into the House and went straight for the appointment with Santa. The Central Hall had been decorated and was set out for the carol singers who were performing later the morning and afternoon. We even had time to listen to a story read by Mrs Santa in the kitchen and make a Santa mobile.

View from the House entrance - 18/12/2011.
On leaving the House, there was a steady stream of visitors coming into the Courtyard and the restaurant and shops were starting to get busy. The sun was shining and in front of  the Clock Tower, you could get close to and have your photograph taken with a bird of prey. 

As 2011 draws to an end, this would be the end of the events programme for the year. It was well organised, well planned and certainly for my grandson, an enjoyable and exciting morning. All of the staff and volunteers have put in a great deal of time and effort to make this and all other events a great success. It was also a great Sunday morning out for me!

My last visit of the year was on the Tuesday of the week before Christmas. The ground was white and icy when I reached Wallington.  Walking around the House I took a few pictures before setting off through East Wood to the Walled Garden.

West Lawn Avenue - 20/12/2011.

Roses on the south side of the House - 20/12/2011.
Garden Pond was starting to ice over and the Walled Garden paths were roped off due to the ice, 2011 was finishing as it started.

Ice forming on Garden Pond - 20/12/2011.
Mary Pool in Winter - 20/12/2011.
 My last job here at this National Trust property was to tidy up the borders beside the restaurant and Courtyard cottages. By the time we finished the ice had melted and it was to be slightly warmer. It has been an enjoyable year volunteering here. I have worked in many different areas around the grounds and Walled Garden. The seasons have dictated the work and the extremes of weather have provided other jobs to do.

Conservatory in Winter - 20/12/2011.
 Part 14, the last in this series of blogs will look at some of my favourite photographs from the hundreds I have taken during my weekly visits.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Views around the Grounds and Walled Garden 20/12/2011

This was to be my last visit to Wallington in 2011. I have visited nearly every week and have taken hundreds of photographs during my time volunteering. The snow gave way to some hard frosts and certain paths in the walled Garden had to be closed because of the ice and the risk of people falling on the steep and slippy ground.

Garden Pond was starting to get iced over again, this reminded me of the last winter here at Wallington, when it was completely frozen over. 

Our work for today was to tidy up the borders beside the restaurant, Clock Tower and Courtyard Cottages. There are no more events planned here for this year and it was to give the area a quick clean up for Christmas and New Year openings.

I took the following photographs before starting work this morning:

West Lawn looking through to the Clock Tower.

West Lawn

Roses still blooming on the South side of House.

East Lawn and House entrance.

Griffin Heads on East Lawn.

Frozen Garden Pond.

Mary Pool in the Walled Garden.

Lower Terrace in the Walled Garden.


Conservatory and Hot Border.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Views around the Grounds - 14/12/11

The strong overnight winds had finished when I arrived at Wallington. On parking the car the first thing I saw was a large tree uprooted and blocking the car park exit. 2011 is finishing as it started, with trees falling due to severe weather.

Whilst walking through East Wood to get to the Walled Garden, there was further evidence of the gale force winds - a beech tree had fallen out to sycamore tree and large branches were spread over a large area. The beech trees were planted in the 1700s and it is sad that any of these are damaged or uprooted.

Our work for today was taking off the small branches from fallen trees to allow the foresters to come in with their chainsaws. A final job for today was to help get some Walled Garden benches under shelter for the rest of winter.

The following photographs were taken before I started work this morning:

Fallen tree in Car Park.

Courtyard and Clock Tower.

House Entrance from East Lawn.

Returning swans on Garden Pond.

Path beside Garden Pond.

Fallen trees in East Wood.

Fallen trees in East Wood.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Views around the Grounds and Walled Garden - 08/12/11

First visit to Wallington in December, was on a very wet and windy day. The Met Office had issued a red warning for high gale force wind in Scotland and an amber warning for the North East. The winds were just starting to increase as I entered the car park and the rain was lashing down. The rain was so bad that I drove down to the Walled Garden and parked up.

It would be unlikely that the grounds and garden would be open to the public today, due to the high winds.

With the weather being so poor, I decided to take the following photographs in black and white:

Clock Tower and courtyard

House Entrance

Edwardian Conservatory

Thursday, 1 December 2011

A year at Wallington in pictures, November 2011 - part 12

2011 is rapidly coming to an end, as is this series of blogs. Over the year, I have taken hundreds of photographs and used the ones that I like best to illustrate how the grounds and Walled Garden have changed season by season.  

With the House now closed except for a few planned events, the property has started to get very quiet with a gradual reduction in visitor numbers. As usual here at Wallington, there are some planned weekly events, in the run up to Christmas.

My weekly visits to help this year started in the first week of January and hopefully will continue into December - weather permitting!

Close up of Clock Tower - 02/11/2011.

The above image of the  Clock Tower was the first photograph taken on my first visit of November. The one-handed clock was showing it was approximately 8.45 am. I tend to get here early and use the time to walk around the property and take photographs before starting work. The autumn colours continue to be seen in the woods and especially the Walled Garden.

On reaching the car park, I was in only the second car there. Getting all my gear together, I set off to the Walled Garden. In the distance I heard the sound of someone using a leaf-blower - was this to be our job for today, I thought to myself!

It was to be a dry but slightly overcast day and I spent the my time in the Courtyard, clearing up leaves beside the Restaurant and from under the beech hedges of the Courtyard Cottage gardens.

Colour of the Walled Garden -02/11/2011.

Falling leaves in the Walled Garden - 02/11/2011.

My second visit to Wallington in November began with my usual walk around the outside of the House and grounds. Around the Courtyard, West and East Lawn the trees have nearly shed all of their leaves.

Leaves in the Walled Garden - 09/11/2011.

Leaves in the Courtyard - 09/11/2011.

Rather than take the direct route to the Walled Garden, I took the path around China Pond. The ground and paths were completely covered with fallen leaves. My work today was concentrated on tidying up the path around East Lawn in the Walled Garden.

It was quiet in the Walled Garden and I only spoke to a few visitors during the day. It was a calm day, which made the clearing up of the leaves a much easier job.

View towards Clock Tower and Restaurant. - 09/11/2011.

The frosts of early November seemed to have disappeared for my third visit of the month. The trees in the woods here at Wallington have rapidly lost their leaves and the Walled Garden is being prepared for Winter. As well as volunteers, there was a group of about twelve people, spending a week here on a working holiday. A great deal of clearing up, planting and other tasks around the grounds and Walled Garden will be undertaken.

Potting Shed in the Walled Garden - 16/11/2011.

For today, our task was to cut down hazel branches in the Orchard. The branches were then stored to be used as pea sticks in the future. The weather remained dry and calm for another productive day's work around the estate here at Wallington.

Compared with recent months of the year, the Walled Garden is again starting to look bare. Over the last few weeks a great deal of planting has been carried out, to provide the seasonal splashes of colour. Whilst on my walk through the garden, I came across a single rose bloom, beside the Cut Flower border. It provided a reminder of the past colourful displays here this year, a 'trademark' for the property.

Single rose - 16/11/2011.

Last winter's snowy weather started here at Wallington on the 24th November 2010. After a frosty start to the day, snow began to fall in the middle of the afternoon and in a short space of time the Courtyard was completly covered. One of my first photographs taken that day was the Griffin Heads on East Lawn.

Start of snow - 24/11/2010.

My fourth visit was to be on the 23rd of November, so I thought it would be a good idea to retake the same photograph of the Griffin Heads, a year to the day later. It certainly was a lot warmer today and no sign of frost.

Griffin Heads on East Lawn - 23/11/2011.

Autumn on the lower terrace - 23/11/2011.

During November, I have made five visits to help in the grounds and Walled Garden. The work for my last visit on the 30th was to tidy up the borders beside the House entrance and front of the House. The trees have shed all of their leaves and all that remains is to clear them away from the grass and any corners around the property.

Although windy and wet during the afternoon, it is certainly a big difference to this time last year, when we were in the grips of a hard winter.

As this National Trust property moves into the last month of 2011, preparations are being made for the planned Christmas events.

Ready for Christmas - 30/11/2011