This weekend (as you'll know if you've read the 'News' page of this website recently) the Gardening Scotland show is being held at the Royal Highland Showground, near Edinburgh Airport. Our sister organisation, the West of Scotland Dry Stone Walling Association (www.wsdswa.org.uk) usually enter a show garden, and this year their entry not only won a sliver gilt medal but also the 'I dig it' award for publicly-voted best show garden - here they are with Jayne Whitehead (of garden design company Ivy Maud), the garden's designer, and the award.
The garden was designed to commemorate the centenary of the first world war, and is imagined as the corner of a walled garden, abandoned when the gardener goes off to fight, with wild flowers starting to grow amongst the original planting.
This year they also had a small demonstration of dry stone walling using some of the left over stone from the garden, which generated quite a lot of interest, with several people enquiring about courses (see our training page) or getting work done (see our professional services page).
The show's on tomorrow as well, so (providing your reading this very soon after I've posted it) you've not missed you chance to go along and see it for yourself.
Today Mike, Alan and myself, joined by Steve, who is involved with Wooplaw in a voluntary capacity, visited Wooplaw Community Woodland (www.wooplaw.org.uk) to repair a stretch of wall not far from where we built the dry stone seat for the woodland's 25th anniversary two years ago (I was going to put a link here to the blog entry for this, but I've just discovered that it's no longer on the site ... need to investigate what's going on with this ...).
Anyway, here's the seat - still standing, I'm glad to say, with only minimal work having been required to keep it that way - with Alan setting things up by the bit of wall needing repaired in the background.
On the way down we passed another site where we'd previously done some work, and I was very pleased to see that the stone arch over the little stream which we (well, Richard) had put in was still standing also.
The issue we were to tackle today was a section of wall a couple of metres or so long which had fallen down.
The ground around here had been very marshy which is probably what had brought about the collapse, but some dredging of the stream draining the area had greatly improved matters since we built the seat.
Richard showed up briefly, bringing the banner, but couldn't stay as he had other commitments. We tied the banner to some nearby trees, so the half dozen or so people who passed by would know who we were.
Despite being much better than it had been, the ground was still pretty muddy, and little pools of water formed where we had taken out foundation stones. Fortunately we didn't have to take out many of these, though we thought that perhaps the fact that they were quite small might have contributed to the wall's demise.
There's a bit pile of stone near the site, so we lugged some big stones over to redo the foundation with, and by mid-morning we'd got up to about a foot or so above ground level.
And by mid afternoon, after lunch on our previously-built seat, we'd got up to through level (we had lots of throughs - long stones which, unsurprisingly perhaps, go right through the wall - we put six into this relatively small gap).
The stone was quite pleasant to work with - relatively flat and even, for the most part. We had to go looking for copes (well, the others did, as I was 'trapped' behind the wall on the other side from where all the available stone was), but by about four pm or so they'd collected enough to complete the section.
And here's how it now looks (by comparison with the 'before' photo above).
This blog, and the rest of the site, are produced by Donald McInnes, treasurer of the SES DSWA (I'm the baldy one, sometimes in a saltire hat).