Photo: © Graham Cartland Glover
The project aims to keep all the railway's gardens and 'green bits' in a presentable order . There is close collaboration with this group and the Society's 'Adopt a Station' initiative.
Joint Landscape Group
Archived Working Party Reports:
Spring Makeover Working Party 2011
The 2011 Spring Makeover working party was held over the weekend of 4 – 7 March. Unfortunately we were seriously undermanned for what is always a large programme that concentrates on the railway’s three stations with the largest areas of garden, Dinas, Waunfawr and Rhyd Ddu. As a consequence the amount of work achieved fell well short of that programmed and much remains to be completed at Dinas and Waunfawr.
On Friday 4 March at a very sunny Dinas, Margaret and I raked winter debris out of the bed next to the bungalow and from the Trackside Bed north of the Porthmadog platform. The bank running around the turning head and opposite the Goods Shed was cleared of undergrowth, brambles and some overhanging branches. Gaps in the front of the Trackside Bed were infilled with transplants we brought with us.
On Saturday 5 March, a grey day, we met Charles and Jo McKenzie who have adopted Nantmor on site. They are starting to think about what they should do in the garden area. We discussed the approach of giving each station a distinctive style that reflects the local landscape and microclimate. We also talked about current thoughts on using a modular system of planters to give some continuity of design to all stations. During the day they created and planted a small bed adjacent to the gable of the Station Shelter and stone/rock picked the open area adjacent to the level crossing.
Then at Dinas we caught up with Dave Waldren who was well into removing winter debris from the bed near the road bridge. The rest of the morning was spent spreading woodchip mulch on all the cleared beds at Dinas. We were grateful to Dafydd Thomas and two members of his team for assistance with the provision and barrowing of the woodchip mulch at the start of the day.
The afternoon was spent at Waunfawr, where a start was made on cutting back dead vegetation and raking out winter debris from the two smallest beds. Dave Waldren used his alpine garden building skills to extend and heighten the raised rock feature in the centre of the alpine zone of the Shelters Bed in preparation for the spring planting.
On Sunday 6 March, sunshine and cloudless skies returned to Rhyd Ddu and the McKenzies visited the Station to look at the small wooden planters on the platform.
The morning was spent clearing winter debris from the Car Park Herbaceous Border and de-grassing and weeding it. More irises were planted at the back of the border to deflect the fierce winds that blow down from Snowdon. Some plants were relocated to reduce overcrowding and some peonies brought up from Surrey were put in as trial planting. After lunch we concentrated on the platform beds, weeding and de-grassing the heather and alpine zones in each bed and planting replacement heathers in the bed nearest to the Station Shelter. Planting in the more exposed beds was deferred until late April. The planter nearest the Car Park foot crossing was emptied and restocked with new dwarf conifers. Finally parts of the dry stone walling in the central raised alpine bed had to be reconstructed while others had to be stabilised to deal with the ravages of the severe winter weather during December.
Monday 7 March was another brilliant day and we were joined by Martin Kressman at Waunfawr. In the morning we cut back dead vegetation in the Shelters bed. The ornamental grasses, irises and montbretias were cut back hard in the southern (water tank) bed and the overgrown schizostylis were lifted for dividing and re-potting before replanting elsewhere to replace winter losses. Where required some trees were crown lifted and any parts of shrubs overhanging the back edges of the platform were cut back for public safety. Attempts were made to eliminate invasive rosa rugosa for the same reason and a large Buddleia Globosa killed by the hard frosts was felled. In the afternoon work continued on clearing winter debris from the Shelters Bed and the small Northern and Southern Beds were mulched with wood chippings. Lack of manpower prevented any attempt at cutting back dead vegetation or raking outf winter debris in the Bridge Bed, the largest at Waunfawr, before the end of the working party.
On the Tuesday after the working party Margaret and I followed our usual practice of returning to all the working party sites to finish off as many bits and pieces as we could in a day. In the morning we lifted prepared plants at Waunfawr and relocated them to the Trackside Bed at Dinas and we watered all the plants put in during the working party. After lunch we visited a local nursery to buy grit, alpine plants and dwarf conifers, returning to Waunfawr to plant alpines in the alpine zone of the Shelters Bed and applying a grit mulch to that area before watering all transplanted and new planted material.
Finally we visited Rhyd Ddu to add an extra pair of new dwarf conifers to those in the footcrossing planter. Everything was watered and then we noticed that Moel Hebog had disappeared under a rain cloud which arrived just before we left the car park. It was a fitting end to a sunny weekend.
Summer Trim Working Party 2011
The 2011 Summer Trim Working Party in July was the best supported Working Party since the group started and we made excellent progress on completing some overdue tasks especially at Dinas which is now looking better than at any time since the Railway opened in 1997, If we can keep the level of enthusiastic support we had this time we should have completed the reinvigoration of Dinas by summer 2012.
On Friday July 8 in increasingly unpleasant wet weather four of us spent the day working on the Shelters Bed at Waunfawr which had not been tackled at the Spring Makeover. We cut back the spring bulbs and dead headed plants that had finished flowering, thoroughly weeded all of the bed except the alpine garden on which a start was made. We added potted up perennials to the bed to fill gaps and cut back any shrubs that were overlapping the platform edge. Work continued on eradication of the nuisance shrubs on the west side of the bed by digging out, lopping back or preparing for spraying in dry weather. Bare earth was lightly dug over in the wet before covering with a thick layer of woodchip mulch. By four o’clock when the mulching was completed we succumbed to the persistent rain and relentless attack of the Nant Gwyrfai midge population and departed for drier quarters.
On Saturday July 9 at Dinas we started in dry cloudy weather, spending the morning working on the three beds adjacent to the entrance gates. Again there were four of us, weeding, cutting back the spring bulbs, shaping shrubs and lopping some lower branches off the pine tree in the herb bed to allow more sunlight and rain penetration in from the south and west.In the afternoon in brighter weather we concentrated on the Trackside Border bushwhacking the Gorse and Honeysuckle that was enveloping everything. Intensive weeding was undertaken along the trackside of the border.
A day of great job satisfaction finished slightly early so that we could be off site by 5 o’clock.
While the working party was concentrated at Dinas our old stalwort Pete Hugman was out on safari strimming long grass at Meillionen, Rhyd Ddu and Waunfawr.
Sunday July 10 was a beautiful sunny day at Rhyd Ddu which by early afternoon when we moved on to Dinas was very hot. Again we were four and this enabled us to make good progress.
At Rhyd Ddu in the Car Park Bed we again cut back spring flowering plants and bulbs that had died back together with the hardy geraniums that will flower again in September. The bed needed de-grassing and weeding because it did not receive a spring mulch. Some of the plant bullies were exterminated and parts of this bed will need some reorganisation and a heavy mulch before next spring.
After morning coffee we concentrated on the platform beds. The three planters and the three beds had been given a good weed in the preceding month so only light weeding and degrassing was required. This enabled us to concentrate on planting new heathers and a limited number of replacement grasses as we continue to learn lessons about what will survive the extreme weather and heavy soil in this exposed location.
After lunch on the platform watching the SMR trains on Snowdon, we returned to Dinas for the afternoon. Potted up Irises, Cranesbill Geraniums and Purple Loose Strife were planted in groups to fill gaps in areas of the Trackside Border cleared and replanted at the Spring Makeover. The ground creeping honeysuckle was cut back to the base of the Llon Eifion fence. At the same time bushwhacking continued in the overgrown area just north of the Portmadoc platform. Finally three very tired volunteers took turns to barrow and spread mulch in that area. After watering the plants in the last of us got away at about 6 o’clock.
After some hurried phone calls and lots of help from Clare Britton and our host Alan Pye we arranged the repairs for our vehicle in Penrhyn and picked up the FR’s big blue Transit van at Harbour Station on the Monday morning.
We eventually arrived at a very sunny Waunfawr at 11 o’ clock, having collected our gardening equipment from the car. There we joined the two volunteers, who we had been able to contact. We immediately got started on weeding and cutting back plants and spring bulbs that had died back after flowering in the Bridge bed and completed weeding and infill planting in the Alpine garden, and spot praying stumps in the Shelter Bed. Further efforts were made to rid the Bridge Bed of the vicious Rosa Rugosa which at one stage was threatening to spread everywhere.
After lunch two tired volunteers left for their long journeys home and Margaret and I moved onto sort out the Water Tank Bed. In particular thinning out and cutting back the plants in the grass garden. We also thickening up the sparse planting at the level crossing end that is exposed to strong winds and strong sunlight and which in turn cause regular plant loss.
We watered the plants in and on our way back to Penrhyn we called in at Dinas to water Sundays plantings.
Time to relax? No Way. Over the next two days we started Phase 1 of repainting the Platform Shelter at Rhyd Ddu.
We did actually achieve the 16 man days we need for the Summer Trim this year. I would like to thank Angela Harrington, Howard Stuckey, Stan Owen, Clare Britton, Pete Hugman, Andrew Lewis and of course my long suffering wife Margaret for fantastic support at this Working Party. We did a lot of hard work and had a fair number of laughs in the process.
In addition I would like
to thank Jo Morton and Roger Wolfe, who although unable to attend our
working parties have both spent several days on separate visits to work
at Dinas and Rhyd Ddu.
Autumn Blitz Working Party 2011
The Autumn Blitz has the largest and hardest workload of all of the JLG working parties. We only had seven people this time but we achieved 15 person days. We had anticipated a few more volunteers, nevertheless despite weather which produced more hours of rain than any previous JLG working party, we actually got quite close to achieving all our targets. Grit, determination and webbed feet won through in the end.
On Friday 7 October, five of us had a very busy day at Waunfawr. After a damp start three of us spent the morning with loppers and saws crown lifting and trimming the trees and pruning shrubs in the Twin Shelter’s Bed. At the same time the bed was dead headed, de-grassed and problem runners were spot sprayed before the whole bed was re-mulched after a light forking over. The change to the character of the bed was amazing and it really had been worth all the effort, However the Alpine Garden was left for special attention on another day.
afternoon was dry and the North
Bed was tidied up quickly with a light weed and some cutting back of
shrubs and plants, before we turned our attention to the Footbridge Bed
and the Water Tower Bed. In both beds shrubs were
selectively pruned back and deadwood removed while many herbaceous
plants were deadheaded and cut right back. Another
concerted attack was made on the rosa rugosa which constantly threatens
to take over the Footbridge Bed. The Ornamental Grass
Garden in the Water Tower Bed was left for a later visit. The
branches of the trees overshadowing the Footbridge and the steps
down to the Camp Site Toilet Block were lopped back hard to try to
reduce the effects of the Autumn leaf fall on the bridge and the spread
of mosses and lichens on the decking.
Summer Working Party 2010
Joint Landscape Group held their June working party over a four week period from Friday 18th to Monday 21st. The long weekend saw big improvements to both Waunfawr and Rhyd Ddu stations with a strimmer in action as well as the painting of fences and much weeding and tidying of beds.Dinas saw some attention to the border to the north of the station as well as weed control measures elsewhere.
The whilst the number of people attending was disappointing, all planned work was completed, if not quite to the standard aspired to. Please see the Working party dates page for details of forthcoming work. You'll be most welcome to attend and to take part in this vital exercise in keeping our stations and environs up to a presentable standard for our traveling public.
Early Spring Working Party 2010
Joint Landscape Group, as part of the Adopt a Station scheme, held their 2010 Early Spring Working Party on the 28 February, 1 and 2 March.
The work concentrated on
completing that started at
Waunfawr and Rhyd Ddu last Autumn together with some tidying
up work at Dinas.
Joint Landscape Group Report October 2010
The October Working Party
from.Friday 8th to Monday 11th was rather
better attended than the one in June, but we do need more people to
join us for at least half a day or preferably a whole day over a four
day working party.