Fota Frameyard Blog

Gardening, Nature and Heritage from Fota House

Behind the scenes at Fota – the Volunteers

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According to the 1911 census, 73 people, excluding Lord and Lady Barrymore, are listed as residents at Fota House. This number of servants gives some idea of how many people it took to keep the house, garden and farm running. Nowadays, a team of volunteers, working with the Irish Heritage Trust Staff at Fota maintain the house and the frameyard.

The term “volunteer” comes from the French noun voluntaire, which means “one who offers himself for military service”. But while there isn’t an army of servants any more, our dedicated platoon of  volunteers work as house-guides, on the cleaning and care of the house and contents, in the Frameyard and generally answering the call to duty to help when various events take place. All seems quiet now that the house is closed for winter, but behind the scenes…

Frameyard work

Once the gate of the Frameyard closes to the public, the volunteers, under the guidance of Bernard, our Gardener, begin work on planning for the following year. This means cleaning, tidying, putting the potted plants away for the winter. Much time is spent taking cuttings and labelling the new plants.

Cuttings of pelargonium, Mrs Henry Cox.

Mary takes cuttings

Potting and labeling the cuttings

Harriet potting and labeling the cuttings

Splitting the roots

Splitting roots

Re-potting the roots.

Anne and Fionnuala re-potting the roots

Ann, Gabriella, Bernard. Setting acorns in the seed box.

Ann, Gabriella and  Bernard planting acorns in the seed box.

Halloween

At Halloween, it’s a case of all Zombies on deck! Volunteers get made up and take their positions, behind bushes or in coffins, ready to bring fear and fun to the visitors.

Make-up time

Make up! Zombies want to look good too!

Zombie beauty parlour

Ready for a close-up at the Zombie beauty parlour

It's Zombie Showtime!

It’s Zombie Showtime!

Christmas Fair preparations

Now we’re working hard at making crafts for our Christmas Craft Fair on December 4th. Plants, wreaths, decorations, decorated ware,art-work, chutney and even reindeer food will be sold at the fair. All the items on sale will be hand-made by the volunteers who bring their many creative talents to the event.

Helen, Margaret, LaDonna, Anne, Edwina, Fionnuala, Hazel and Angela making Christmas wreaths

Helen, Margaret, LaDona, Jackie, Anne, Edwina, Fionnuala, Hazel and Angela making Christmas wreaths

Jackie puts the final touches to a wooden decoration

Jackie puts the final touches to a wooden decoration

Succulents potted in tea-cups for the Christmas Fair.

Succulents potted in tea-cups for the Christmas Fair (photo Jackie E.)

 

Volunteers and I.H.T. staff will soon begin to decorate the house for the Magic of Santa at Fota House.

So behind the closed doors of off season Fota House, work continues…….

*Feature photo of succulants by Jackie E.

http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/little-people-big-house-1.573676w

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Author: fotaframeyardblog

We are volunteers who work at Fota House Frameyard in County Cork, Ireland.

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