We are opening our garden to the public on behalf of Plant Heritage, for whom we hold a National Collection of Epimediums. Donations to Plant Heritage will be welcomed.
We look forward to things returning to normality and we hope to be able to open our garden in 2021. In the meantime please keep yourselves safe.
Much of our spare time this year was spent on the pagoda project, so that routine garden maintenance jobs were somewhat neglected, until recently. However we have nearly caught up now, despite the time spent clearing up the fallen conifer. The year old contents of our leaf-mould tower have been spread over our Epimediums, growing in the beds. Our large bin containing perhaps three cubic yards of homemade garden compost has been spread over beds containing other perennials.
On inclement days while I have been writing blogs or working on the aquariums, Linda has been busy with her scissors, tape measure and sewing machine, making cushions for our four triangular pagoda seats. We searched for a considerable time on eBay for an oriental fabric suitable for upholstery, and the final choice was one depicting koi carp.
It was growing out of a stand of bamboo, Sasa palmata and the base of the trunk shattered with half of the bowl lifting and half remaining in the ground. It fell in an Easterly direction completely crossing over our right hand neighbours’ garden and going well into their right hand neighbours’ property.
Opening times are 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Battens were screwed to the upright posts and horizontal beams, and flooring and the painted ply glued and screwed to the battens with small stainless steel screws. I used these rather than panel pins which seem to rust eventually and produce brown staining in the wood.
I made window frame profile wood using the table saw again, to make an L profile to take glass with the addition of a strip of wood to retain it.
I had read that a wallpaper steamer would produce adequate steam for our needs.
When the batten work was completed we set up the steamer in the pagoda and the steamer box on the walkway and steamed each strip for 15to 20 minutes as recommended on the internet.
The second strip was glued and clamped with all the carpentry clamps I possess, but it wasn’t enough to keep the strips tightly held together. Fortunately we had kept the short lengths of 2”x1” we had used with screws as clamps on the bridge handrail. These worked well but took time to fit. Strips three and four followed on, each a day apart, giving the glue time to harden.
They work like a gate table, a triangular vertically hinged leg is swung out and the seat triangle is hinged down and is supported by the leg. I ordered two dozen 3cm long by 1cm diameter neodymium magnets on eBay from China which arrived miraculously in six days.
The last additions to the construction have been a pair of slate covered concrete square planters and two ornamental warning bollards on the corners of the step.
In a brighter moment, it occurred to me that rather than be constantly going up and down steps while creating the joists in situ, it would be better to do it at ground level. We therefore made a temporary copy of the larger roof frame to use at a more convenient level and also in the area where the timber was stored and cut away from the pagoda pond. It was now we first discovered the extra headaches caused by the rooves being rectangular rather than square.
Having made all the joists, the first fitted permanently were the large diagonal ones for the main roof. We left fitting the thinner right angled ones for later until the small roof was completed or access to make the small roof would have been much harder.
Having made and painted the small roof, the slog of the lower roof was completed and fitted with scaled up finials. The construction and painting of this was made more difficult as it had to be done from steps stood outside the pagoda, but we prevailed eventually.
to be continued.
Our son-in-law, Daryl brought his welding equipment to ours’ and over two sessions welded and ground the steels together to make the two frames.
As soon as the frames were made and painted, work on the timbers to be fixed to the frames began.
The next stage was to create a cantilevered step to bridge the gap between the pagoda and the planned walkway between the stepping stones. When this was in place the flooring of 2”x2” timber was laid with a gap between each for effect and drainage.
I had come up with a successful pillar construction method Paul and I had used for the new stepping stone.This was using two cut lengths of slotted concrete fence posts temporarily wired together, concreted into a large hole in the bottom of the pond and then filled with a cement and sharp sand mortar, down the centre hole. Two more pillars were created for the walkway.
To be continued…
It had a few improvements, changes and repairs over the years, but by five years or so ago, it was no longer safe to cross over the walkway in the front of the pagoda.
At last spring’s Epimedium Open Weekend we discussed its demolition and replacement with several groups of visitors. To our surprise quite a few people said this would be a shame as it had a lovely “lost Garden of Heligan” look. However it was beginning to lean perilously to the point it was clear it would fall into the pond before too long.
The old plywood sides were cut out of the buildings timber work for possible use later. The burnable timber was given to a neighbour to feed his wood burner.
The perilously leaning Buddha plinth was deemed not to be recoverable so was broken up, hoping the old handmade bricks might be useable for something someday.
Stay tuned for part two where construction begins!