Archive for December, 2015


Chard providing a bit of winter colour in the walled garden

Chard providing a bit of winter colour in the walled garden

In the last visit to Blickling before Christmas we had only a morning session followed by a wonderful Christmas buffet lunch where all the gardeners and Thursday volunteers shared a lovely spread in the education room.

Digging over the parterre border

Digging over the parterre border

The morning’s work began with the ladies going off to dig over the long border by the parterre (you may recall we chopped down the spent growth here a week or two ago). Fellow volunteer Peter and I helped gardener Jane (newly returned from a birdwatching holiday in Australia) in tidying up (yet more) leaves. This was a case of loading up from a big pile, rather than blowing like last time. Oh, and I discovered that we volunteers will not be able to use any machinery in future unless we have been on an accredited course, so it may be my flirtation with the various bits of kit here is a brief one!

After an hour of leaf loading (they were rather wet and heavy so my arms and shoulders were beginning to ache), Peter and I headed off to the Walled Garden.

Project Manager Mike was already here. I hadn’t been in the walled garden for a few weeks and it was pleasing to see the progress and to hear of Mike’s plans for the New Year.

Taking shape- metal posts awaiting fixing alongside the main paths- they will carry a selection of apples and pears trained as fans or espaliers

Taking shape- metal posts awaiting fixing alongside the main paths- they will carry a selection of apples and pears trained as fans or espaliers

Mike himself was just finishing off hole digging for the last of many metal posts that will carry wires and a selection of apples and pears grown as fans or espaliers. Mike told me that a local apple growing project had managed to identify all of the different apple varieties growing on the walls, some of which were not as currently labelled! He’s still pondering whether to put up wooden battens to fix new wires here, but as this is not normal or historic practice, thinks it might be a case of fixing vine eyes directly into the walls.

Some of the metal path edging is in now but contractors will be finishing this off in the New Year. It also looks like the drainage is all in place. I mentioned in an earlier post that money has been secured to fit out a new gardeners’ bothy (though Mike is having second thoughts about a wood burner in here as he doesn’t want it to be too comfortable!). And the refurbishment of the second big greenhouse is also planned for early in the New Year.

So, having got the low down on everything, Peter and I set about trench digging for the wooden edging boards that will be used in some of the more minor cross paths in the growing areas. These oak boards and pegs had already been prepared by the ‘Wednesday Volunteers’ and they smelled lovely stacked up outside the bothy- in- waiting.

My trench with Peter in the background, preparing for oak edging boards.

My trench with peter in the background, preparing for oak edging boards.

It took me about 45 minutes to finish one trench, just long enough to take me up to that Christmas Lunch. It was a nice event, with Head Gardener Paul thanking us all for our efforts during the year. As well as receiving a Christmas ‘thank you’ card from all of the gardening team, we each took away a bottle of wine and a bag of apples that Mike had gathered from the walled garden. A nice touch.

Oak boards and pegs awaiting installation

Oak boards and pegs awaiting installation

I can’t believe that it’s nearly a year since I began volunteering here; a year which has been a joy.

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

 

Reblogged on WordPress.com

Source: From autumn to spring in December 1806

The official blog for the North York Moors National Park

A festive rattle through some of the plants associated with Christmas – some of which, but decidedly not all, grow in the North York Moors…

Sam Witham – Conservation Student Intern

Holly in the North York Moors - copyright Kirsty Brown, NYMNPA

Common hollyIlex aquifolium

Christmassy fact: Holly is well known as a festive winter decoration. The Romans sent holly branches with presents during the December festival of Saturnalia.

Other facts: ‘Holm’ is an old name for holly and is seen in place names such as Holmwood and Holmsdale.

UK Habitat: Woodland and hedgerows – it is commonly found as an understorey tree or shrub in oak and beech woods.

* * * * * * *
Ivy in the North York Moors - copyright Kirsty Brown, NYMNPA

Common ivy Hedera Helix

Christmassy fact: Traditionally ivy is associated with holly (hence the song) and used in festive winter decorations.

Other facts: Ivy can be mistaken for two different species as the juvenile leaves look totally different to the adult ones. In…

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WP_20151116_13_08_33_ProRecently, I was attending a meeting at a museum in Luton and in the lunch break had the chance to see the travelling exhibition of photographs from the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition (the eighth in the series to date). I was enthralled by the many wonderful images on show. Unfortunately the lighting in the room made taking photographs of these difficult without them being affected by reflections. However, I’ve put together a gallery of a few that seem less affected by this- I hope that you enjoy them.

You can see all of the photographs and buy prints here.

Old School Gardener

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We attended a couple of carol services at St. Agnes’ Church in Cawston, recently, and were bowled over by the floral displays put together by local resident Lynne Fairchild.

Old School Gardener

So, here are the final four wonderful pictures taken by my friend Jen over in Vietnam.

First, a plant with a common name of ‘Canonball Tree’ due to its large rounded fruits (and its flower buds also rather resemble Brussel Sprouts!). Couroupita guianensis, as its name suggests, was originally native to South America.

Couroupita guianensis

Couroupita guianensis

Second, one of the range of River Lilies  Crinum. I think this one might be the ‘giant Spider Lily’ Crinum x amabile, which can grow to 6 feet tall in the right conditions.

Crinum x amabile

Crinum x amabile

‘Folded and floating’ is how Jen describes these amazing Lotus flowers…

lotusFinally, this one caused me a lot of searching (including via our postman’s Vietnamese friend!), but I’m pretty sure its the ‘Cockspur Coral Tree’ or Erythrina crista-galli (the latter means ‘cock’s comb’). A native of South America it is also the national tree and flower of Argentina. The picture shows the dramatic terminal raceme of flowers, in this case not yet open.

viet5

Erythrina crista-galli

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this mini series; I have certainly found it fascinating trying to track the plants down! Thanks once more to my friend Jen.

Old School Gardener

Aristolochia salvador

Aristolochia salvador

Shine A Light

By Jamie Everitt

What links these four things together? Perhaps one of my favourite objects in the Norfolk Collections Centre, the enigmatic silk press. Let us find out how.

Press full view

Norwich was once the most important cloth manufacturing town in Britain. Daniel Defoe, visiting in 1723, claimed that there were 120,000 textiles workers employed there. Although this was probably an exaggeration, there is no doubt that textiles were the backbone of the city’s trade for centuries.

In medieval times Norwich was renowned for its worsteds, a fine fabric made from combed wool. The name derives from the village of Worstead about 12 miles north of the city which, along with nearby Aylsham and North Walsham, first developed the trade in the 12th century. Carefully selected wools were prepared with a wool comb, a fearsome-looking instrument which had to be heated before use.

Wool comb

A wool comb from the collection of the Museum…

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One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?

By Katrin Glatzel, Originally posted on Agrilinks.org, Dec 10th 2015

As the International Year of Soils comes to an end, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been passed and COP21 is wrapping up in Paris, it is time to reflect on the role soils can play in future development agendas.

The decision made at the Rio+20 conference to develop a set of SDGs and the agreement “to strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world in the context of sustainable development” created momentum to discuss the role soils play in the global sustainable development agenda. It also initiated discussions concerning the need to develop clear soil and land indicators, necessary implementation mechanisms, supporting governance instruments, and the role of public participation.

This is now, at least partially, reflected and anchored in SDG goal #15, “Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.” Furthermore, the…

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