Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Scarecrows in the Sunshine!

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 talented team 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...!

Scaredy Cat

They made 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.

Janet and 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.

Margaret Clark

History Interpreter Guide

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A day in the life of events...

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 prospective clients.

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 perfectly.

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 hoping for.

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!

Charlotte Howle, Event Co-ordinator

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Stop the press!

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 pineapple house.

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...

Pineapple cultivation 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.

You can read coverage on the pineapples on BBC News England and Manchester Evening News.

Caroline Jackson, Marketing

Monday, 5 November 2012

The scariest place!

This 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!)

Pirate Allan

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!

Here are a few of the spooky staff...

 Ghostly Woman

 The Grim Reaper

 The Lady


not to miss... 

The sunbathing skeleton!

Margaret Clark
History Interpreter Guide

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Rut!

It's that time of year again...

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!

Fallow Deer 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. 

Darren Morris, Park Ranger

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Tatton Park 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 Tatton Park 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 
GrossetĂȘte’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!”

For more information visit: www.tattonparkbiennial.org

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Life on the Estate

Tatton 365 Mansion Exhibition

With 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.

Mark Williamson