To be complete, the new fruit sculptures need to have stalks fitted. The initial thinking was that the stalks would be made of wood. It was then realised that the wood would swell in wet weather causing the sculptures to crack. Thus an alternative solution was needed.
To assist us, we have collaborated with Lancaster University Engineering Department. An intern Estelle Seeliger under the supervision of Professor Andrew Kennedy has been responsible for the project to find the best solution.
The first stage was to develop prototypes using 3D printing (of different materials) and casting (also using different materials). Six prototypes were produced. Estelle and Andrew visited Alan Ward at his studio in Lancaster Castle in order to assess the various prototypes with the sculptures.
From these prototypes it was decided to proceed with the casting method rather than the 3D printing approach. This decision was for reasons of cost, durability and aesthetics.
The second stage was to create further prototypes using the casting method. A variety of different epoxy resins and Portland stone mixes, together with different finishes were explored. Again Estelle and Andrew visited Alan Ward to assess these prototypes. From these prototypes a final option was chosen.
Lancaster University will continue to collaborate on the project for subsequent sculptures and advise on the installation of the sculptures.
FOSG wish to record their thanks to Estelle Seeliger and Professor Andrew Kennedy for their assistance with this project.
See below some photographs of the two visits to Alan Ward’s studio and the last photo shows the sculptures with the final selected prototype stalks.
Last month we reported the arrival of much needed rain. In November we had even more. This plus the reduced periods of daylight meant that we were not able to do as much gardening as we would have liked.
However, we did persevere, and this is what we achieved.
Continued gathering up fallen leaves. At the beginning of the month this was in the Copper Beech Garden prior to the Light Up Lancaster festival (to read a report of this and to watch a video, click here). In The Tasting Garden, we focussed on the paths as we don’t want the rotted leaves to fertilise the weeds in the paths.
Fiona arranged some more flowers from the gardens for inside The Storey. This included three dry flower arrangements.
Collected a substantial amount of well-rotted horse manure. There was plenty available, and you can see from the photograph in the slideshow below how much more is left for another time.
Did a lot of autumn pruning and cutting back (e.g. honeysuckle, Michaelmas daisies, buddleia, golden rod, briars, brambles and laurel). The cut branches and stems had to be bagged up for removal by the Lancaster City Council Grounds Maintenance team.
Removed runner bean canes for storage over winter.
Weeded and generally tidied up the Herb area.
Weeded the bed alongside the ramp up into the Copper Beech garden and planted some violas and cuttings of a ceanothus and a purple hebe.
Planted some crocus bulbs in the Copper Beech Garden.
Emptied one of the compost bins. Filled up another and levelled off with a layer of horse manure and then cardboard. Put some pots of cuttings on top.
Potted up two sage plants from long stems that had been pegged down. Pegged down some more stems.
Weeded around the soft fruit bushes and dug out some of the old raspberry canes. Put down some compost. There is more of this to do.
Two of our volunteers attended a meeting of the Groundwork Northern Network. The aim is to connect green community spaces across Northern England. More about this a future post.
The Friends of the Storey Gardens (FOSG) have received an award from the Lancaster University Community Benefits Fund towards the recreation of The Tasting Garden.
The amount received will enable us to purchase two further replacement sandstone plinths for fruit sculptures. We do not currently have the remaining funds for the sculptures themselves but the cost of producing a sculpture is significantly less than the cost of a plinth.
Once the two new plinths have been purchased and delivered, we will install all four plinths in The Tasting Garden. After this Alan Ward will engrave the names of all four fruits on the plinths. Then the two fruit sculptures already created by Alan will be fixed to their plinths. This will leave four new plinths in the garden, two with sculptures and two without.
The location of the two new plinths has yet to be finalised but one will probably be in the Apple path and the other in the Cherry path. Thus we will have one new plinth in each of the four paths.
We hope to have all this work completed by the end of spring 2023.
Below is a photo of the Lord Suffield apple tree. It is a possible location for the plinth in the Apple path.
In October we had much needed rain. This saved us the task of watering but reduced the time we were able to work in the gardens. Also, the wet ground made tasks such as scraping the wildflower areas harder work.
So, this is what we did achieve in the Storey Gardens during October 2022:
Finished scraping the wildflower areas to almost bare earth and sowing yellow rattle seed. It is the yellow rattle plants that help to create the wildflower areas. The roots of the yellow rattle are semi-parasitic feeding on the nutrients in the roots of the more vigorous grasses. This weakens the grass giving more delicate species of wildflowers the opportunity to grow. We will see the results of our efforts next summer.
Swept up lots of fallen leaves in both the Copper Beech Garden and The Tasting Garden. The copper beech leaves are stored in a special area where they can rot down into leaf mould. It takes a couple of years for this to happen. We will continue doing this into November.
Weeded the flower beds and cut back some of the perennials that have finished flowering. An ongoing task.
Fiona arranged flowers in vases for display in The Storey.
The Bay: A blueprint for recovery group built us another table out of pallets. We will use this table in the Plants for Sale area of the Copper Beech Garden.
Sieved some topsoil for potting up plants.
Planted crocus and triteleia bulbs.
Planted cowslips where a patch of ribwort plantain had been removed.
Removed ivy from part of the wall between The Tasting Garden and the Friends Meeting House.
Cleared the grass and weeds along the edges of the paths in order to show better the shape of the paths. Another ongoing task.
See below some photos taken of our gardening volunteers in action during the month.
This is what we did in the Storey Gardens during September 2022:
Scraping the wildflower areas to almost bare earth and sowing yellow rattle seed. It is the yellow rattle plants that help to create the wildflower areas. The roots of the yellow rattle are semi-parasitic feeding on the nutrients in the roots of the more vigorous grasses. This weakens the grass giving more delicate species of wildflowers the opportunity to grow. There will more of this activity during October.
Weeding the flower beds especially around the Swan’s Egg pear. An ongoing task.
Clearing the grass and weeds along the edges of the paths in order to show better the shape of the paths. Another ongoing task.
Taking cuttings and potting up plants to sell at the Heritage Open Days.
Picking ripe fruit to offer to visitors at the Heritage Open Days.
Using a hand mower to cut the grass in The Tasting Garden. A border is mowed around the paths and also the non-wildflower grass areas.
Planting cowslips with The Bay: A blueprint for recovery group in the wildflower areas.
Cutting back catnip spilling on to the pavement from the garden opposite Lancaster Castle. The Friends of the Storey Gardens maintain this garden as well as the Copper Beech Garden and The Tasting Garden.
See below some photos taken of our gardening volunteers during the month.
This week Lancaster City Council staff have removed the existing concrete plinth by the Swan’s Egg pear tree. The old plinth for the Czar plum was removed in May 2022. Click here to read that post.
Also, on 27 September 2022 we reported that that Alan Ward has completed both the Swan’s Egg pear and Czar plum sculptures. Click here to read that post.
The next step is to install the new Sandstone plinths alongside these trees in The Tasting Garden. After this, Alan will engrave the names of the fruits on the plinths and the sculptures will then be fitted onto the plinths. We will keep you informed of progress.
There are no photographs of the Swan’s Egg pear plinth being removed. We do, however, have photos of the plinth next to the pear tree prior to removal and the tree again but with the plinth no longer present. There are also photos of the plinth in two pieces at the bottom of the Garden awaiting removal. See the slideshow below.
Lancaster based sculptor, Alan Ward has started work on the second of the replacement stone fruit sculptures – the Czar plum. The sculpture is being carved from Portland stone. Alan is working from a polystyrene model created by artist Robert Williams.
Chris Wright has been back to Alan’s studio in Lancaster Castle to photograph the early stages. See the slideshow below.
On Monday 22 August 2022 the Lancaster City Council Grounds Maintenance team came to strim the wildflower meadow areas in The Tasting Garden. Some Friends of the Storey Gardens (FOSG) volunteers were also present to help with the raking.
For a successful wildflower meadow it is necessary to cut the grass annually, rake it and remove it. Now the cut grass has been removed, the next task will be for FOSG volunteers to prepare some areas for sowing yellow rattle seeds.
It is the yellow rattle plants that help to create the wildflower areas. The roots of the yellow rattle are semi-parasitic feeding on the nutrients in the roots of the more vigorous grasses. This weakens the grass giving more delicate species of wild flowers the opportunity to grow.
So where there was insufficient yellow rattle this year to inhibit the long grass from growing we will scape these areas to almost bare earth before sowing the yellow rattle seeds we harvested during July and August.
Chris Wright was on hand to photograph the action. The Council staff are in yellow tops and the FOSG volunteers are wearing their green tabards.
A volunteer task over the spring and summer has been moving the Plants for Sale in the Copper Beech Garden. These were located to the left of the steps sitting on the ground and on a stand made by The Bay: A blueprint for recovery.
The plants needed to be moved to the right of the steps. It was a long process as a large mound of soil and rubble had to be removed first. Once this was complete more tables were required to stand the plants on. Two of our volunteers, Ruth and Clive, constructed three tables out of wooden pallets and old fence posts.
See below a few photographs of the mound being cleared and the tables at the final stages of construction.
After removing some weeds, we positioned all the tables, ensured they were level. The ground here is tarmac that has become uneven. We also moved a bamboo plant in a pot into this area to hide part of the wall behind (N.B. The bamboo is not for sale!).
The final step was to move the plants. See below some photos of the finished work. I hope you will agree that the area now looks more attractive.
Alan Ward has completed the sculpture of the Swan’s Egg pear. At the bottom of this post are photographs Chris Wright has taken showing Alan making the finishing touches. There is a circular depression at the top of the fruit sculpture. This is where the wooden stalk will be fitted.
There is still work to be done before the sculpture can go on display in The Tasting Garden.
The existing plinth next to the Swan’s Egg tree in the garden has to be removed and the new plinth made of sandstone installed. Then Alan will inscribe the name the fruit on the plinth. Finally the fruit sculpture will be fixed to the plinth.
All these activities will be take a few weeks yet. Progress will be reported as new posts on this blog.