It’s a bit of a double-edged sword when groups cancel. After the initial “Oh no”, very quickly follows the “Oh yes” of a bit of less-busy time. So we’ve just had a couple of weeks to catch up with some pressing jobs in the garden and take some nice long walks around the area to counteract the middle-aged spread! We spent about five hours on the Wye Valley Walk from Poulstone to Mordiford on a blazing hot day. It was gorgeous – a lot of the walk was through the dappled shade of woodland as well as blissful little sections along the Wye, amongst pink flowered hog weed, clematis and dragonflies of the most exquisite electric blue, turquoise and metallic green. Beautiful.
In the garden, Steve has been tackling the yew and laurel bushes by the Buddha which badly needed pruning, having gone rather bald in the middle and ballooned out on the outside, swamping the poor walnut tree. As you can see, he applies a high degree of health and safety considerations to his work……!
We’ve also been trying to catch up with the fruit-picking which is getting away from us, as other things have had to take priority. Sometimes we just have to say we didn’t have time and the birds will be grateful for the food! Mel has been picking loganberries and redcurrants, and the blackcurrants are starting to need picking now. The loganberries are already featuring in berry trifles and other puddings. We’ll also freeze a lot so groups across the year get to sample them.
And Poulstone has been given a new greenhouse! Some clients of Dave (our once-a-month gardener) very generously offered us their old greenhouse if we were willing to go and dismantle it. So we went off to their home on the outskirts of Hereford and took it down and lashed it to the top of the trusty van and brought it back to Poulstone. Amazingly only one pane of glass got slightly cracked during the whole mission! Steve’s been spending time dismantling the dilapidated old greenhouse here, ready to install the replacement. We’ll be able to go back to growing tomatoes, peppers, basil and so on in the greenhouse without Gail feeling she should be wearing a hard hat in there!
Since then, we’ve had Alec Jones’s Dragon Spring Tai Ji School’s Summer Retreat here. The sunnier weather held for them so they were able to play Tai Ji in the gardens. It’s lovely sitting in the office seeing people playing the form on the lawn!
The day after they left, we were joined by Marianne Murray with her Holotropic Breathwork group. Marianne is an annual Poulstone regular and we had a great week with her and the group. They rounded off the week with a fire outside in the walled garden on their last night.
So we now have a couple of days to get organised ready for the start of the work retreat – time to walk round the garden and house and look at the jobs that need doing, check all the tools are where we thought they were (!) and so on. It’s always a lovely week, hanging out with old friends and new, and we’re looking forward to it.
Mel & Steve x
Poulstone Court Retreat Centre P.S. These heleniums are our favourites of the moment – and the bees love them!