Archive for June, 2015


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30th June 2015

To Walter Degrasse

Dear Walter,

A short letter this month, I’m afraid. I’m sitting here, having just got access to the computer amid builders’ mayhem, with dust everywhere… and I’ve just been interrupted to see to a pigeon in the fruit cage! It certainly is all go.

I thought I’d write little and let my pictures speak for my gardening activity this month, if that’s OK?

First, we’ve been down to Devon a few times and thankfully completed my Mother-in- Law’s move to her new flat. A bonus was some rather nice pots she kindly gave me as well as a few cuttings of some interesting plants…one of the pots is a ‘Pig Salter’, I gather it was used to salt raw pig meat; it looks handsome with its bright yellow bamboo.

I’m also rather pleased with my efforts at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum, little though they are. My visit last week revealed the gardens looking grand; I especially liked the swathes of Pony Tail grass just coming into flower…

At home, Old School Garden is also looking rather good, I think. And the harvest has begun too; Broad Beans, First Early Potatoes, Strawberries, Raspberries, Gooseberries and this week the heads of Calabrese are looking just about ready for picking. I’m also encouraged by the new system I’m using for growing tomatoes- ‘Quadgrow’. This is a system of watering via a reservoir under the pots with a wick up into each pot. You add water and feed to the reservoir and away they go- and they are looking healthy, vigourous and are producing lots of fruit, though to date I’ve just had one ripe tomato.

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Hopefully the building works will be more or less completed this week and I can then begin my own efforts in decorating three and a half rooms plus a stairwell and corridor…I might be done by Christmas…

All the best old fellah..remember to keep cool in the promised heat wave this week!

Old School Gardener

 

 

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Pasque Flower seedhead by Anita Gowing

Pasque Flower seedhead by Anita Gowing

WP_20150625_14_59_03_ProAnother two week break from Blickling, and this week’s session was hot, hot, hot!

Shorts (well, nearly), were the order of the day along with my new National Trust polo shirt. I joined the other volunteers in the Orangery Garden initially, weeding among the Hellebores and ferns, an area I’d helped tackle earlier in the season, but which now was awash with Foxglove seedlings.

Quite satisfying working in the shade and after a good shower of rain a few days before, working my border fork around the plants and leaving the odd seedling where there was an obvious gap. The ladies and I managed to clear one of the island beds just before lunch, and a couple of us then went over with gardener Rob to the Double Borders to continue filling gaps with Dahlia tubers, some not looking up to much, but we shall see…

The Parterre looking neat and with early hints at the colour to come...

The Parterre looking neat and with early hints at the colour to come…

These borders, typical of many British gardens at this time of year, have completed the first spring rush of fresh foliage and flower colour and are giving way to the clipped forms of shrubs and the more subtle colouring and tones that presage a  later summer riot of colour, which I look forward to seeing. To add a further bit of interest, there’s also currently a sculpture display in the gardens, featuring some lovely stained glass and various shells.

The garden team have obviously been busy in recent weeks filling the gaps left by the spring bulbs with a host of annuals, all looking ready to romp away. The plant that yielded most visitor interest while we were planting was the Beetroot (‘Bulls blood’) which had been cleverly grouped at the front of the borders and gives a really vibrant splash of red when the other colours around at this time are more muted. Well, we finished our planting task in good time as the warmth of the day reached its peak…

Beetroot 'Bull's Blood' causing a stir in the Double Borders

Beetroot ‘Bull’s Blood’ causing a stir in the Double Borders

And later I came along for another ‘roasting’- a most enjoyable ‘Hog Roast’ put on by the Trust as a ‘thank you’ for staff and volunteers. I had a good chat with Head Gardener, Paul and a couple of other volunteers, one who acts as a room guide in the House, the other as a guide in the R.A.F. Oulton Museum on site. There was a Jazz band and the food was scrummy too. 

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

 

Saw these guys (and they saw these girls) putting up some interesting floral displays in The Strand, London, next to the Law Courts, last week...

Saw these guys (and they saw these girls) putting up some interesting floral displays in The Strand, London, next to the Law Courts, last week…

Hackney rooftop

Hackney rooftop

'Zephirin Drouhin' looking good this year on a tunnel at Old School Garden

‘Zephirin Drouhin’ looking good this year on a tunnel at Old School Garden

Roses nodding round the front door or along a pergola or trellis make even the plainest house look pretty, but the thorns on stray shoots can scratch people as they go in and out. Combine beauty with safety by choosing a thornless rose like ‘Zephirin Drouhin’; it is a rich pink, perpetual flowering and heavily scented- and has thornless stems.

A lovely rose, and thornless, too

A lovely rose, and thornless, too

Old School Gardener

Cornflower by Sarah Walters

Cornflower by Sarah Walters

trellisGrow climbers up a rendered house (or with another painted surface, like timber boards) on trellis panels fixed to the wall with hinges at the bottom edge and secured by catches at the top. when the wall needs a fresh coat of paint, swing the top of the panel forward just enough to get a paint brush or roller in behind. The main stems at the base are scarcely disturbed.

Old School Gardener

Bromeliad forest in Peru (Puya raimondii)

Bromeliad forest in Peru (Puya raimondii)

Keukenhof, Holland

Keukenhof, Holland

‘Why should we imitate wild nature? the garden is a product of civilisation. Why any more make of our gardens imitation of wild nature, than paint our children with woad, and make them run about naked in an effort to imitate nature unadorned? the very charm of a garden is that it is taken out of savagery, trimmed, clothed and disciplined’

S. Baring-Gould 1890

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