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A Walk in the Park – Attingham Park December

We made our monthly visit to Attingham Park, our last one for 2017, just as Christmas was making itself known at this National Trust property. Before we even reached the coffee shop for our usual warm drink to get us fueled up for our walk, we had been met by a snowman, a Christmas tree and we were entertained to some 1940’s music and dancing. The hall was decorated in a 1940’s style so the dancing set the scene.

 

The trees were decorated with wartime decorations, based on the idea of “make and make do”, as were the decorations in the coffee shop, where paper chains were made from newspaper. The trees were themed with one based on children’s games from the 1940’s and another was book based.

 

We came across a few other Snowmen, as we followed the one-mile trail, to amuse us on this chilly day. I managed to get around this month without my wheelchair as my recovery from leg surgery is coming along nicely. I walked the mile using a crutch which was very pleasing and rewarding!

      

Wandering through the woodland areas beneath tall mature trees, we noticed that a few browned leaves were managing to hang on to the branches but the majority were bare skeletons. These frameworks of trunks, branches and twigs were magnificent with no green leaves to hide their structure.

   

New buds were already waiting patiently on some branches anticipating spring far off on the horizon, while on other neighbouring trees a few dried leaves hung on. One patch of trees still showed some green in its canopy. A few old seed pods hung on having defied the storms, rains and gales of autumn, seed heads of trees, shrubs and perennial plants.

 

  

We wandered around the walled garden now virtually clear of crops, leaving hazel pole structures bare of the bean plants that once adorned them. The volunteer staff here are adept at creating beautiful and original plant structures.

   

A green flowered cauliflower had recently been attacked by frost, so had browned a little. Celeriac though recently cropped awaited storage.

 

The gardeners’ bothy was simply decorated but full of atmosphere, added to by the gardeners and volunteers enjoying their break so the aroma of freshly brewed coffee mingled with the smell of wood smoke.

Whatever time of year you explore the countryside, parkland or even more so a garden, there are always surprises awaiting. An out of season flower, a bud bursting at an inappropriate time or sadly at times the sudden death of a favourite plant. Two surprises were awaiting us at Attingham this December. First were lemon yellow catkins hanging fresh and healthily from hazel shrubs. These are usually key features of the month of February. In December they provided a beautiful diversion for me and my camera lens!

The second surprise was a Rhododendron shrub in flower!

  

Now that we have explored the parkland at Attingham Park every month during 2017, we need to decide where our monthly visit will be next year. We need somewhere open all year and of interest every month too. We shall let you know in the new year! I hope you have enjoyed visiting Attingham with us each month during 2017.

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Allotments under Snow

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Today we braved the snow and floods up at our allotment site and went for a walk around to look at what turned out to be a very different world to the one we usually see. The pictures illustrate just how long it may be before we can get any gardening done up there. We still have root crops in the ground – in December it was too wet to get on the soil and now it is all under the white stuff.

Here is the actual green bench that inspires the name of my blog.

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The scarecrows remain on duty whatever the weather and shrug off the snow and ice.

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Wheelbarrows wait patiently.

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The plots have a forlorn look but beneath the ice and snow the soil is waiting – waiting for a little more light, more heat from the sun and plenty of evaporation to lessen the moisture content.

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The Winter Garden is full of interest.

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The contractors preparing our site extension in the adjoining field were toiling away in the snow, ice and waterlogged soil. They are putting in drainage and clearing out an old pond to create a wildlife pond for us all to enjoy. The ground they overturn presented birds with a rich feeding ground. Blackbirds, Redwings, Fieldfares, Jays, and Thrushes both Song and Thrush revelled in a fresh supply of worms and ground creatures.

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Do snowmen travel by bus?

Sometimes things happen in life that make you ask hugely important questions, life-changing in fact. Today as we drove to the local garden centre we saw these characters waiting at a bus stop. I had to stop and snap up a photo. And this experience brought one of these massive questions to the fore.

Do snowmen travel by bus?

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Sadly, the character on the left got fed up of waiting and fell asleep.