WP_20160121_13_37_53_ProThis week’s gardening session focused on the avenues in the wilderness garden at Blickling. Gardener Ed led the volunteers to continue felling, gathering, shredding and stacking wood from the trees and overgrown shrubs alongside one of the routes radiating away from the House.

Having delivered two trays of birthday cakes (held over from last week), I made my way over to the Temple area where it was clear that some serious wood cutting was going on. You may recall in an earlier post, that the avenues have not received regular attention and so various trees have forced their way into what were once clear, straight lines of Oaks and similar trees. The main culprits are Yews and Hollies though some ‘rogue” Oaks have also found their way into these areas too.

WP_20160121_10_54_13_ProEd set to work with an impressive chainsaw attachment on an extended pole which made cutting off offending boughs look pretty easy. He later used a more conventional chainsaw to reduce some overgrown hollies to stools, form which bushes will re-sprout.

The shredder which managed to consume vast quantities of brashings from the trees was an impressive machine. ‘The Wolf’ gobbles up quite thick stems and so we were left with just a couple of piles of very thick cuttings that we later stacked in a wood pile for firewood. I imagine the shreddings are mixed in with other organic material to from compost.

I mentioned last week a talk to the Estate volunteers about the Walled Garden Project from Project Manager Mike. This was well attended and proved to be extremely interesting, with plenty of photographs of how the Walled Garden looked over the years since it’s birth in the 1600’s, when fruit was definitely the thing to grow. It was interesting to hear that the original garden was twice the size of the current one, and that the current garden formed the orchard area whereas the adjoining car park was once the area for soft fruit and vegetables etc. There are some fascinating old aerial photographs of Blickling taken in the 1930’s which you can see at this site .

Here’s one taken in 1928 and showing the walled garden in the foreground. About two thirds along from the left  and just up from the bottom there is a feature stretching away vertically on the picture, just to the right of a group of trees; this is thought to be the pineapple growing frames which were orientated to capture maximum sunlight. Apparently the Lost Gardens of Heligan in cornwall have grown pineapples in recreated frames and have calculated that it cost them some £10,000!

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener