The Picnic in the Gardens was a huge success. Though the skies  threatened it was dry during theIMG_0349 day while Alec Collyer and his crew rigged up marquees and lighting. Some came early to set up their gazebos while other picnickers were still arriving as the entertainment got underway. With the fire burning in the hearth and a colourful exhibition of paintings by the Shaldon Art Group the Castle came alive and as night fell the stunning lighting of the building and surrounds made for a magical ambiance. Thanks must go to Alec Collyer for his inspiration, to Glynn at the Post Office and Steve at the Newsagents for selling tickets and to all whose efforts contributed to this very special event.

The success of the Picnic has prompted the Friends Committee to re-think priorities. The Castle offers the potential to act as a base and focal point for a variety of activities. So the Torquay Road gate will have to wait, a roof for the Castle is to be our next major fund raising target. Architects are looking at possibilities and we hope to get some costs for the project soon.

A small source of funding will hopefully come from sales of the forthcoming book – ARTUFUQIL’S SHALDON. Using the Liqufruta fortune Maria Homeyard doubled the size of Shaldon in 10 years. The story behind the creation of her garden and the building of her stylish houses during the depression years has never really being pieced together until now. There are Subscription Request forms at the newsagents and the PO as pre-orders will help to enable the publication. The book is due out in November and will be on sale locally with profits going to The Friends.

The spring plantings below the Pond and the Katsura tree have just about survived the dry summer. This autumn the long promised plantings in the area above the Pond will go in. Included in the scheme will be some tree ferns, one rescued by Andre Waring and the others bought with a cheque for £90 kindly donated to the Gardens by the Shaldon and Ringmore WI. Funds raised at the Picnic in the Gardens will help to pay for a team to get the planting done as the Volunteer Work Days are not really sufficiently well attended to achieve this.

Aboriculturalist Adrian Dumont appeared out of the blue one Volunteer Sunday and has since been giving thought to the Garden’s trees. He has written up descriptive details for some of the Garden’s star trees and funding permitting, it is hoped to get some plaques up beside each to inform people better about what we actually have. He has exciting plans, but first trees need to come down. If trees were to come down, is there any one out there that would be interested in collecting the timber for burning? If so, phone Lisa on 01626 873562.

Earlier in the year Nia Pearson collected a huge quantity of daffodil bulbs that were being discarded. Please come along to the Volunteer Work Day on Sunday 14th November to help plant sacks full of daffs (any extras you happen to have would be welcome of course) either side of the path beside the Allotments leading up from Broadlands.

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