The Black Garden with its newly gravelled surface -one of the best views in the garden

View across the Black Garden with its newly gravelled surface; the ‘classic’ view of Blickling

It’s Thursday, so it must be …digging at Blickling!

My latest session involved working with ‘Aussie Pete’ in preparing the soil on some of the paths, ready for turfing next week. you may recall that there are two areas where grass paths cross two of the quarters of the Walled Garden? I’ve lost count of the times we seem to have moved soil, dug it over etc, but after being trodden and barrowed over for a few weeks, it certainly needed ‘fluffing up’ to ensure the turf, when it’s laid, takes easily to the soil underneath.

Aussie Pete 'fluffing up' the soil for some grass paths

Aussie Pete ‘fluffing up’ the soil for some grass paths

‘Norfolk Pete’ was off putting in the remaining lengths of metal edging around the Walled Garden, whilst the remainder of the volunteers were set to weed and aerate the soil in the border beds which are being used to grow cut flowers. Gardener Rebecca was confined to the potting shed sowing trays of veg which are starting to fill the greenhouses.

Weeding in the Cut Flower border

Weeding in the Cut Flower border

During the day we met three new volunteers who will join us next time (assuming they haven’t been put off!) and ‘Aussie Pete’ disappeared for an hour or two in the morning to do some initial training as a ‘Garden Guide’- one of those volunteers that take people around the gardens and give them useful information on its history, layout and challenges. I’ve thought of volunteering to do this as I enjoy meeting the public, but for now my schedule doesn’t allow this…still in a year or two, maybe?

Having made pretty good progress with the soil forking over, I think Project Manager Mike must have felt sorry for me, as he asked if I’d like to do some work on the newly planted soft fruit bushes. I do enjoy pruning and tying in, and so this was a welcome relief from the digging.

You may recall that a week or two ago I mentioned some oak trunks being taken to a local sawmill to be turned into posts and other items? The posts will secure wires that these fruit bushes will be trained against, and Mike was keen to get them pruned and tied in to temporary canes to begin their ‘basic training’. So, I set to work on three varieties of gooseberries, and some redcurrants and wine berries (volunteer Pam says these are gorgeous). Some of the plants are being grown as straight cordons, others as fans.

Though a bit fiddly (I’d succeeded in cutting my finger with a bread knife the day before, so my elastoplasted finger wasn’t the most nimble), this was an enjoyable task that took me up to lunch time. After that ‘Aussie Pete’ returned and we continued to finish off fluffing up the soil for the grass paths …so we will possibly be turf laying next time….

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener