Tatton Park is an historic estate in rural Cheshire, England, which was owned by the Egerton family for 360 years. It is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in the north west and home to a deer park, a Neo Classical Mansion, landscaped gardens, a working farm and 1,000 acres of stunning parkland. This blog started out as a record of the gardeners' year but now a number of people would like to contribute! We hope you enjoy reading about our day to day lives at Tatton.
At last it
almost seems like Spring is here...the scarecrows are out to play, it’s half
term and the Gardens at Tatton are looking lovely.
The scarecrows come out to play!
There are some very
inventive people out there making these scarecrows...Janet Bradshaw, who is part of our Education team worked with the children at Longridge Community Centre to make some of our Scarecrows in the Kitchen Garden. Also our talentedteam of gardeners made many of the scarecrows in and around the gardens, so all credit to them too.
Coming up behind one
or two, they did look a bit real and one couple sat on a bench totally ignoring
one much to his disgust!
In the Fernery there were lots of very large snakes
and a scaredy cat.... and I always wondered what the 'cave' held...!
everyone smile and of course it was such a lovely day on Sunday, with the
Stableyard extremely busy. And after all the weeks of the place looking deserted
it was great to see visitors back.
Jill Belton were helping children make mini scarecrows in the marquee in the
gardens...very busy and they didn’t seem to stop for anything. So a lovely day
had by all, let’s hope the weather continues for the rest of the week.
I love meeting people! Being an Event Co-ordinator at Tatton Park means
I get to meet lots of people from all walks of life. Everyone has a different reason
for coming to Tatton and a different story to tell. Whether it’s a couple who
have just got engaged, the little boy who is eagerly awaiting his Bar Mitzvah
or even the corporate manager who wants to host a show stopping conference for
I also love diversity in life and always having something new and
exciting to take on. That comes in abundance here! I work with a very small,
close-knit team who deal with all aspects of event co-ordination, from taking
the initial enquiry to being their on the day. The same team conduct venue
viewings, liaise with clients, draw up contracts, raise invoices, set up for
the day itself and are there for the event to make sure everything runs
Being part of such a small team that takes on so many different roles
for an event really gives me the opportunity to get to know clients. The
rapport I build up with them means that I can really get an understanding of
what they want and I’m able to help them achieve the perfect day that they were
To top it all off I get to do this in such beautiful surroundings and
with such wonderful people helping me along the way. Seeing the deer on the
2000 acre parkland never gets boring and being able to spend so much time in
Tatton’s famous gardens is the icing on cake. Doing this with a team that is
lovely and as equally as enthusiastic and passionate about Tatton as I am is
the cherry on the top!
Tatton celebrates its first majestic pineapple crop
There's been lot's in the news and on the radio recently about Tatton Park's impressive crop of Pineapples... you may have heard about the first crop grown on the estate in over 100 years!
So if you haven't heard and have been wondering what all the fuss is about here's the success story of the glorious, regal fruit....
Tatton Park is the only garden and
property in the country with a traditional working pineapple house, We recently celebrated the revival of the Great British pineapple by welcoming Councillor George
Walton, Mayor of Cheshire East Council, who was presented with the first of hopefully
many pineapple crops from the pinery.
'The King of Fruits'
This highly prized
fruit was greatly valued in the 18th century (around £5,000 in
today’s cash!). Known as ‘The King of Fruits’ it was celebrated when Tatton
re-created a historical scene from the late 1600s when Charles II was presented
with the first pineapple cultivated on English soil by his gardener John Rose -
Councillor George Walton, who also chairs the Tatton Park board, was presented with
Tatton’s pineapple by gardener John Hoxworth who is responsible for the
Above: Tatton’s pineapple being presented to Councillor George Walton by one of Tatton Park's gardeners John Hoxworth
Above: Charles II presented with the first pineapple cultivated on English soil by his gardener John Rose
It's a big achievement for Tatton's garden team as it has been over 100 years since the last pineapple crop was grown at Tatton - imported
fruit killed their social status - and in time the pinery became
a vinery and then gradually fell into disrepair. Thanks to £2.5m from the
Heritage Lottery Fund, the former Cheshire County Council (now Cheshire East
Council) the National Trust and Cheshire Rural Enterprise Tatton’s six-acre
walled kitchen gardens have been gradually restored to their halcyon days.
The pinery was
officially opened in 2007 by Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Two years on saw
another milestone when the first pineapple was produced after a labour
intensive propagation process, (and some TLC from our garden team). Now five years on, Tatton celebrates its
first fully functioning crop.
'The King of Fruits'
Here's the science bit...
involves the rotation of three bays for planting, growing and maturing the
fruit. They are grown in the traditional way in a pot on a special mixture of
oak–leaf compost which creates the same levels of heat as tanner’s bark, a
waste product from the tanning industry, originally used when growing pineapple
but now no longer available. The complex process which sees a little slip turn
into a full plant can take up to three years and requires a combination of heat
and humidity for successful germination and growth.
Our head gardener, Simon Tetlow, explains, “from set up, to establishing a full crop it
has taken five years! But it has been well worth the wait, and we hope to soon
be growing as many as 300 pineapples a year, which will supply Tatton’s Garden
Shop and restaurant”
Above: Head Gardener, Simon Tetlow, with the prized fruit.
Halloween was at the Old Hall Tatton Park, even some of the staff who came down
from the Mansion were scared!.. and they know the people doing the
scaring....though some of the haunters were quite unrecognizable.
Quite a few of the visitors were scary too....one girl on Wednesday came as a ‘mummy’ all self made costume and looked very authentic particularly with a very life like cockroach on her shoulder...she was quite terrified of the pirate though...(Allan Johnson for those who didn't realise!)
This year with the extended opening times going into the second week of Half Term, kept the visitors coming and it was very busy those last 2 days. It was well attended the rest of the time too. As usual with the added extras of face painting and mask making, Sheila and Janet, I don’t know how you keep up!... and the small rides in the Old Hall grounds it made it a full day for families and plenty had picnics on the days of good weather...and of course the story teller in the barn kept the children who were perhaps too scared to go in the Old Hall, entranced...thanks Leonie. There were hot drinks and food to keep you going as well.
We returned the place to it’s origins on Thursday, well almost as a few went back today, (Friday) and put everything away for next year...it does come round very quickly.
The last day when we finished, the 31st, I was stood at the door of the Old Hall with Mick and Dawn just chatting and my cloak which has a substantial clasp just slipped off my shoulders onto the floor, right near where someone else had a paranormal incident a few years ago. That has never happened before and it’s the cloak I wear for the Medieval or Tudor Education days and it’s never just dropped off....spooky!
Over the next few weeks the annual rut will take
place; this is a fantastic time to observe the deer, it is a fascinating time
of year. The males that have spent lazy summer days together, growing antlers
and putting on weight (in preparation for the rut) become less tolerant of each
other and separate. Triggered by shorter daylight hours, they will begin
to call; the Red Deer have a loud bellow that can be heard over long distances
while the Fallow make a noise that can be best described as a belching rasp!
Bellowing Deer: Photos courtesy of Ben Pickersgill - Flickr
Wallows are dug out in a wet area with thrashing antler and
pawing hoof, they are urinated in before wallowing begins to give the animal
not only a fearsome appearance but a pungent smell too! Antlers may be adorned
with grass for a similar reason. All this display, vocal and physical, is to intimidate
rivals and to attract females. Bucks will “parallel walk”, walking along side
each other over long distances, calling and sizing each other up. Fighting is a
last resort. Antlers clash, locked together in a pushing match to decipher the
strongest animal, this may go on for some time with two evenly matched
individuals. The weaker one will eventually back down and retreat, the victor
will often at this point, call at them in celebratory fashion. Injuries do
occur but are thankfully uncommon. During the rut the males cease feeding.
Wallowing in the mud: photos courtesy of Ben Pickersgill - Flickr
The differences between Red & Fallow Deer
The two species of deer here at Tatton employ two different
strategies to facilitate successful mating. Red Deer physically herd together a
group of females known as a harem and move around with them, defending them
against any interloper. Young males are often seen on the peripheries of the
group, opportunists waiting for the alpha male to be distracted!
have a totally different technique; they choose a territory, often in woodland
on raised ground. This is known as a “stand” where the Buck will call from to
attract does into his territory. Branches in the area will have scent on them,
smeared from a gland just below their eye; this is visible on the buck’s face.
The females only come season for a twenty four hour period
and only during this time will she stand for the male. If she is not covered
early in the rut, she will again come into season later, but this is not ideal
as it leads to late calves the following year.
The rut ends in November; then the males gorge themselves on
acorns desperate to replenish energy in time for the on set of winter.
We would like to thank Ben Pickersgill, a park visitor who very kindly sent in and allowed us to use these wonderful Deer images, that really capture the Deer Rut.
For more fantastic images of the parkland and its wildlife visit our Facebook page or find us on Flickr.
TattonPark Biennial Flights of Fancy set to depart following an unprecedented season.
Record number of visitors have enjoyed this year’s edition engaging with the Flights of Fancy theme in extraordinary ways.
Examining the human urge to fly and the aeronautical legacy of TattonPark and the region, the 2012 edition of the Biennial has incorporated brand new commissions amongst which appear a crash-landed spaceship, a human size rook’s nest and a suspension bridge held aloft by giant helium balloons
Already over 250,000 visitors to Tatton’s parkland have experienced double `double takes’ with the unexpected sights of a crash-landed flying saucer and the fuselage of a commercial aeroplane – both astonishing pieces of visual art. The Biennial has received lots of media coverage and many favorable, comments from visitors, here are just a few....
Best Biennial yet. This had purpose, romance.
Really enjoyed discovering the artwork. Really well curated and added a magical element to this visit. Challenging and inspirational.
Well done! - what a fantastic show. Loved it all!
Wonderful, twins aged 8, loved every minute of the exhibits- Grandma
Tatton’s gardens have showcased ten of the commissions and have been home to what must be the most remarkable artwork:- Olivier Grossetête’s Pont de Singe (below) at the Japanese garden is a masterpiece of design and engineering – a 15 metre long bridge held aloft by three helium balloons.
In total 20 commissions have been sited throughout the Tatton estate since the Biennial opened May 11. The Mansion has been the venue for four of the more intricate pieces including skeletal space fairies in the Amber Bedroom (below) and a film with a commissioned musical score played in the Music Room.
Since May hundreds of families and over 150 students
from local schools have experienced and participated in the Biennial through
its Contact Programme. Funded
in part by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Contact Programme has been hugely
successful in promoting greater access to the Biennial through participation
and education via a series of projects, events, workshops, audio guides,
interactive signage and a specially developed app and family learning pack.
There are just a few
days left to experience the 2012 Tatton Park Biennial, running until September 30 there is still a chance to see this year's artworks with a private tour of the estate and also a musical performance in Tatton’s Mansion featuring
a new collaboration inspired by Aura Satz’s stunning Music Room installation - both will take place on the closing weekend- Saturday
and Sunday September 29 and 30
Many of the Biennial
works will be moving on to new venues over the coming months, but their absence
from the Park, Mansion and Gardens will be felt! Not to fear – we are already
planning new works for a 2014 edition!”
only a month to go until the start of the Tatton 365 exhibition, I am in the
final stages of preparation. The selection process has been a bit of a mission
to say the least, and has so far taken the best part of two full days, just to
narrow down the final choices. The tricky part has been trying to represent
life over 12 months, as I have thousands of images to go through. However,
we're almost there now and it's time to get the images framed, prepare press
releases and all of the other aspects related to the exhibition. Life on the estate is currently at its busiest and I'm still popping in to
sneak the occasional opportunity where possible. It would have been interesting
to keep a record of the hours I've spent on the estate, but there have been plenty
of early mornings as well as the occasional very late night. The project has been a joy to work on. I've met all sorts of people and have
got to know quite a few of the staff who are fortunate enough to work there.
The more time I have spent at Tatton, the more I have wanted to shoot and it's
become a bit of a second home over the last year.
I've put together a video clip which tells a bit about the exhibition...
...and there will be a dedicated page opening on my website before the start of
the exhibition, http://www.markwilliamsonphotography.com/home Tatton 365 opens to the public on October 6th and will be on display in the
mansion for the month of October. I hope you enjoy the work as much as I've
enjoyed shooting it. Her are a few taster images.