March 2017

We are looking forward to holding three garden events in the coming period. First up is the Children’s Easter Activity Morning on Saturday 15th April, 10am to 12 noon, with many child-focused activities – Easter Egg hunt, face-painting, biscuit decoration, garden games – plus the ever-popular soup, teas and cakes from the house. Children please remember to bring an adult along!

Greener Sawston are holding a 24-hour Bioblitz event in the garden over the weekend of 13th and 14th May, following the taster event held last October. These events aim to encourage communities to find and record the many different birds, bugs, animals and plants living in their green spaces. Check out the Bioblitz website for more information or see the April-May 2017 Sawston Scene. Do book early to reserve a place for the Saturday evening and Sunday morning sessions.

Our Anniversary Fete is on Sunday 21st May from 2pm. This event commemorates the official opening of the garden on 17th May 2009 by Christopher South of Cambridge News. Come along and enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the garden, entertained by Sawston Steel Band and replenished with teas and home-made cakes served by our excellent MC Teas team.

Work is continuing apace in the house to get the first floor rooms finished to provide extra floor space for our third exhibition, ‘Back to School’. Dates for the exhibition will be publicised when the house is ready. This has taken a long time, but there have been a lot of obstacles, including some unforeseen ones, to overcome. Visitors will also be able to see the restored Edwardian bathroom on the first floor. The Trust office will be up on the top floor of the house – can’t wait! Our thanks as ever to our resourceful builders Ray and Graham and to Tony Fell for the decorating.

We would still appreciate any relevant educational material or artefacts that could be used in the exhibition. If you can contribute anything, please contact us.

At the timing of writing, there are wonderful displays of snowdrops, aconites and crocuses in the garden. Snowdrops seem to be particularly good this year. The earliest daffodils were in flower in late February and should show well into April.

Our honeybees have been very active during mild periods in February and March, which is a good boost for them this early in the season. Looking around, it is striking how much blossom is present on the early-flowering shrubs for the bees to gather nectar and pollen. They clearly enjoy the floral perfumes as much as we do! Our two colonies appear to have come through the winter intact, and should do well this year, provided there are no prolonged cold snaps.

A few more sycamores on the north side of the garden will be removed this spring. We have sourced suitable small trees and low-growing shrubs to replace these, including Euonymus, Cornus, Mahonia, Arbutus, Acer, Malus, Nandina and Amelanchier specimens. These are chosen to give a mixture of deciduous and evergreen plants, with particular attention to early flowering andgood autumn colour. It will be very interesting to watch the development of this section of the garden.

Please note that SUNDAY opening times will revert to the usual ‘summer’ hours of 2pm to 4 pm from 26th March.

Finally, it is very sad to mark the passing of Bryan Howe, who died suddenly on 6th February. Bryan was a trustee for several years and volunteered in the house for the earlier exhibitions. His sound knowledge of local history, and the Challis family in particular, was widely recognised in Sawston. The trust is especially grateful to Bryan for rescuing important documents from 68 High Street, after Mary died, that would otherwise have been thrown out. The trustees offer their sincere condolences to Bryan’s family. Mike Redshaw 

Published in Sawston Scene, April–May 2018 issue.