Thursday, 4 June 2009

Remember the Open Day!!!!

St Mary's Pleasance is open this Sunday 14 June 2009 from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm under Scotland's Garden Scheme (SGS).

There will be plant and other stalls, homemade teas, conducted tour and wheelchair access.

Admission is by a suggested donation of £2.50. Haddington Garden Trust, who run the garden, will receive 40%, the remainder going to SGS.

The garden is also open daily 9.00am to 5.00 pm in the summer and 9.00am to 3.30 pm in the winter.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Spring update

"the Swiss called them 'Schwindlekraut' and used the rootes for strengthening of the head, so when they are on top of places that are high 'giddiness' and swimming of the 'braine' may not affect them"
Gerard on the medicinal use of Auriculas

Volunteering in the Pleasance

Sharon, one of our volunteers, has very kindly written a short piece on her work in the garden.

If you'd like to help out please either leave a comment on this item or call in at the garden and speak to our gardener, who will be happy to pass on your details to the Trust.

We've also added some photographs of pieces work that have been done since the previous post, they include planting:

- a new laburnum tree to replace one of the originals that unfortunately died.

- the first phase of the cottage garden with over twenty types of period appropriate plant
(a full planting list will be added in due course).

- the orchard with fruit and nut trees

- three new yews to give a run of six at the edge of the orchard, leading down to the Nungate Bridge gate.

Volunteering at St Mary’s Pleasance.

We found St Mary’s Pleasance by chance one day, not long after we had moved to Haddington, on one of our walks of exploration around the town. It was like finding a secret garden – a description many people use when they are talking about this gem. We were accustomed at that point to tantalising glimpses of lovely gardens over stone walls all around the town, but we never expected that we would have the good fortune to be able to venture into one of these oases.

It then became a Sunday walk – down by the river and into the garden, to sit for a few minutes up on top of the mound and listen to the birds and the music from
St Mary’s. As the spring and summer arrived, our daily walk took us through the garden if it was still open after we had come home from work. With the autumn came the apples, pears and mulberries and we gathered the windfall on our Sunday walk for crumbles and pies in the afternoon.

We loved visiting, but we wanted to be able to give something back, to help in some way. We didn’t know at that point that the gardener was only there during the week, all we knew was that we had it to ourselves.

Roger Kirby, Chairman of the Trustees, wrote an article about the garden in the annual Council newsletter in January of this year. In it, he spoke about the intention to have a community orchard and asked for volunteers to help out. We contacted him straight away and offered our services, such as they are. We both work full-time, but Roger found a time that worked well for everyone and now we spend our Saturday mornings, weather permitting, helping out with whatever tasks are most urgent.

We had very little gardening experience, but there is a wealth of gardening expertise to learn from. We have dug, weeded, chopped, raked, planted bulbs and trees – every day brings a new task and something new to learn. It is wonderful to be out in the fresh air and to think that, this year, we will have earned our crumbles and pies – and made great friends along the way!

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Scotland's Garden Scheme

Lonicera periclymenum “Honeysuckle”
“The floures steeped in the oile and set in the sun are good to anoint the body that is benumbed and growne from cold”
Gerard 1636

St Mary's Pleasance will be open on Sunday 14 June 2009 from 2.00pm to 5.00pm as part of Scotland's Garden Scheme (SGS)

Admission: by donation - £2.50 is suggested.
Haddington Garden Trust will receive forty percent of the sum collected, with the net remainder going to SGS beneficiaries.

There will be conducted garden tours, as well as plant stalls and homemade teas. So please note the date in your diary!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Work in Progress

Crataegus oxyacantha “The Hawthorne Tree”
"The hawes or berries of the Hawthorne tree doth stay fluxes of blood”
Gerard 1636

As at January 2009 there are two renovation projects underway in the garden.

The Community Orchard

Thanks to a grant from the BBC's Breathing Places fund the trustees, with the support of the local community, are in the process of redeveloping the wildflower meadow into a community orchard.

Over the winter the meadow has been cleared, save for a number of original plum trees, and sections of the wall wired to allow for the planting and training of period appropriate standard, espalier and fan fruit trees.

The ground below the new trees will be seeded with grasses and native wildflowers and planted with bulbs. Work is also in hand to make this area of the garden more attractive to small mammals and birds with the installation of nest and bat boxes.

The Cottage Garden

Thanks to grants from the Stanley Smith Trust
and Haddington Community Council the cottage garden is being renovated and replanted with period appropriate herbaceous plants and herbs. A new hedge was planted in late autumn, partially enclosing the site, and the whole area should be replanted and re-turfed by the Spring of 2009.

The Trustees are grateful to Beryl McNaughton of Macplants, who has helped research and designed the in period planting for this part of the garden, to Hamilton Waste for their kind donation of compost for the new beds and to East Lothian's Community Justice Team for undertaking much of the labour and hard landscaping.

Use of video

We are experimenting with use of video clips to show the progress of the renovations and indeed some aspects of the ongoing maintenance that takes place in a garden of this size.

Over time we hope our shooting and editing skills will improve, so please forgive any technical shortcomings in this first clip which includes views of the area set aside to accommodate the new orchard and the new layout of the cottage garden.

History of the garden

Rosmarinus officinalis “Rosemarie”
“If a garland be put about the heade, it is good for infirmities of the heade and braine”
Gerard 1597

Haddington Garden Trust (HGT) was established by the late Duke of Hamilton in 1972. The trust’s aims are to: “preserve the garden as an open precinct to enhance the environment of
St Mary’s Church and Haddington House, and for the enjoyment in all times coming of members of the public, and to encourage the study of old Scottish gardens and gardening methods.”

The garden occupies the ground at the rear of Haddington House, which dates from 1648 and is located in Sidegate, one of the oldest streets in the Royal Burgh of Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland. (Postcode EH41 4BU)

The garden is known as St Mary’s Pleasance.
It is planted with trees and plants known to have been in cultivation in Scotland when Haddington House was built. The garden contains a “mount” and “sunk garden”, both period features of a 17th century garden. Other features include pleached allĂ©es of laburnum and boxed hornbeam and a wildflower meadow.

The garden has an area of 0.65 hectares (1.59 acres). It was designed by the architect Schomberg Scott to a specification of the late Sir George Taylor, former Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
All photographs copyright of Anna K Dickie