After the solar eclipse (which passed by Little
Sparta in a cold dark mass of cloud) we have the
first signs of spring. The weather is still
temperamental but there have been sunny days and
clear blue skies of promise.
The snowdrops are giving up their last flowers
as the daffodils push through - there is now a
sudden rush of growth all around. Throughout the
woodland and wherever necessary the grass
pathways have been given a topsoil dressing in
preparation for grass seed. Along the sides of
paths and a few other areas patches of ground
have also been left aside for wild flower seeds.
We have had another round of water problems
with the spring source on the hill, but managed
to identify and clear the pipes where they were
clogged up and all is running again. It was
essential to have our water supply back for the
next main task of jet washing the brick pathways
and paved areas. This is now just about
completed, and those areas of brick paths for
renewal will now hopefully be rebuilt or
prepared before opening (time permitting!).
In the English Parkland the lower pond which
had been badly silted up from the earlier work
on the lochan has been dug out and many tonnes
of silt removed. It is good to see the water
running clear in this area again.
Two new greenhouses have been erected - and
with them the potential and encouragement for
propagation. The old greenhouses made the base
for a great bonfire and clearing away of all the
fallen trees, branches and debris from the
Work has been completed to remove the calcites
from the brick gate piers at the entrance to the
front garden - an air abrasive cleaner has
proved effective and the stone has also been
treated with biocide to keep it clean. It is
however only a temporary solution to an
unsightly problem as the salts in the structure
will continue to leech through - though regular
maintenance should now keep them more under
Calcites and staining were also removed from
the Camouflaged Flowers brick
structure - TEGABMOR (bergamot), and
the brass silhouettes and nameplates will now be
polished again for the season.
The Little Sparta name plaque on the front gate
pillar has been steam cleaned to remove
ingrained lichen and discolouring - the machine
used (which is conservation standard) is
designed for sterilisation of dental equipment -
which should raise a smile?
New trees have been ordered for the entrance
area and to replace losses in the woodland from
the winter storms. A first mow of the grass
completed - just to tidy things up and lift moss
and any debris from the surface - harbinger of
many such hours of work ahead.
Finally, Little Sparta and IHF also got a
mention on Landmark Poetics broadcast on BBC
Radio 4 - it is heartening to hear the
importance and the influence of the garden and
its works spread far and wide.