Cheshire Life - - Gardens In Lockdown - WORDS: Lau­ren Allen PHO­TOS: Joe Wain­wright and John Cocks

Life be­yond the gates may be dor­mant, but Tat­ton Park is all of a flour­ish

Tat­ton Park may be closed, but there’s still more than a wheel­bar­row-full of work to do. It’s the height of the sea­son, and for head gar­dener Si­mon Tet­low – who is one of the many par­ents try­ing to jug­gle his new daily work rou­tine with home­school­ing the kids – it’s busi­ness as usual.

Not so much for the park. Tat­ton Park of­fi­cially closed its doors on March 23rd, and things since have been very sur­real. “It’s eerily quiet here at the mo­ment,” Si­mon says. “We’re fa­mil­iar with be­ing around hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple, so it’s a very strange place. There are times I walk around the park early morn­ing or in the evenings, and you get this sense that it is noth­ing with­out the peo­ple.”

From wa­ter­ing the 1850s’ tree col­lec­tion twice daily to ir­ri­gat­ing the lawns and keep­ing tabs on the emerg­ing spring, staff are work­ing around the clock to keep things tick­ing. Try­ing to work with so­cial dis­tanc­ing rules, how­ever, is “a bit of a headache”.

On the one hand, there are 55 acres to play with, but on the other, there’s still only the same num­ber of of­fices, toi­lets and meet­ing points. And then there are the 75 vol­un­teers who are get­ting in­creas­ingly frus­trated at be­ing stuck at home.

“They’re a vi­tal part of the team and we’re re­ally miss­ing them,” Si­mon says.

But there are some pos­i­tives. The park has turned to keep­ing vis­i­tors dig­i­tally ac­tive, of­fer­ing tours of the park on mo­bile app Can­dide Gar­den­ing. Si­mon au­di­bly ex­plores the 19 ar­eas of Tat­ton Park’s

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