Archive for October, 2017


So another garden we saw that Friday was the Hillwood Estate, which has 25 acres of grounds (plus a mansion and some other buildings) in the Northwest part of DC. It belonged to Marjorie Post for much of the last century. Marjorie owned General Foods, so she had a decent amount of disposable income. She left […]

via The Hillwood Estate Gardens — gardeninacity


To Walter de Grasse

Dear Walter,

It’s been a busy month, but not much has been going on in Old School Garden.

though I’ve planted out onions and sowed Broad Beans as well as some hardy annuals, scarified and fertilised the main lawn areas, I can’t claim to have moved on much on the home patch. Still, today I plan to spend a good time putting up fencing to hide the oil tank and possibly also laying the final slabs where the new shed is going. And hopefully I can at long last make a start on that this week, before the bad weather sets in. Despite a cold start today we’ve had things quite mild here recently and it looks like the rest of the week is also going to warm up a bit.

I spent a couple of short sessions over at the local High School Allotment project helping to cut out grass and weeds from around the orchard trees, and I hope to get back there to help in the next couple of weeks. It will be good to get the orchard into some kind of managed state.

Well, having said what I haven’t been doing at home, I can move on to report some major progress over at the local church, where you’ll recall I and others are gradually taking the churchyard and surroundings into more active management, including the churchyard itself as a meadow habitat.

Over the last three weekends (plus a surprise session on Saturday) the ‘Community Payback Team’ have been over to help us tackle some major projects. These are people who have broken the law in some way and have been sentenced to giving time back to the community for free. They, plus a few local volunteers, have put in a tremendous effort and the result is a transformation of the church surroundings. Here are some pictures which illustrate the key achievements, including planting an ‘Avenue of Remembrance’ to commemorate the closure of RAF Swannington (Haveringland) 70 years ago in November, the cutting and raking off of the churchyard, clearing the ‘French Drain’ that surrounds the church walls, strimming the perimeter of the church and the nearby access road and car park, planting many narcissus bulbs (donated by local businesses) and plenty more.

I have been very impressed with the effort and good-natured attitudes of those who have helped us and we have achieved so much more than I was expecting. Things look very promising for the major Remembrance Day service on Saturday 11th November; and I’m especially pleased that you and Ferdy can join us.

Old School Gardener














Toronto Botanical Garden Fall Color! 多倫多植物園的秋色!

via Toronto Botanical Garden Fall Color! 多倫多植物園的秋色! — My Food And Flowers


Last week’s post concentrated on the built history of Beverley’s council housing – some 539 council homes provided before the Second World War and a further 1332 by 1964. These post-war decades were, perhaps, the heyday of council housing. This was an era when it was seen as aspirational housing, an undeniable step-up from the […]

via Council Housing and Community in Beverley: ‘from bad to worse’? — Municipal Dreams


Some pleasing pictures from my good friend Jen…sorry we couldn’t join you, but thanks for the pictures!

Old School Gardener

Further information: Sheffield Park website

Andalusian autumn…

No mists and mellow fruitfulness in southern Spain – instead there was cloudless blue skies and temperatures peaking at 38º. Somehow, by dint of taking breaks in air-conditioned buildings and frequently rehydrating with fresh orange juice, or Spanish beers, we managed to squeeze in stays in Vejer de la Frontera (one of the white hilltop…

via Autumn in Andalusia — The Enduring Gardener

I’ve loved Castle Drogo in Devon for many years. A classic Lutyen’s design, the house is as imposing (forbidding?) as the entrance suggests. The gardens are relatively modest for somewhere so grand, I guess partly because of the site perched on a granite outcrop overlooking Drewsteington and Dartmoor beyond.

Our recent visit coincided with a long standing and major renovation project on the house; basically re-roofing to stop water penetration. The story goes that Lutyens used a relatively untested asphalt covered flat roof system when the place was built, and over time this has broken up and so water is getting in where it shouldn’t. It’s a multi million pound project and we were able to climb an external stairway (my other half very warily), to see the work underway, beneath a huge ‘tent’ that encases the whole of the roof and must make for a resonably comfortable work space, notwithstanding the site’s exposed position.  We had a very interesting guide to the works, which are imposing some limits on the areas of the house open to the public, but heh ho, never mind. There was a rather interesting ‘installation’ of many many different kids of clock in one of the rooms!

We concluded our visit with a stroll through the split level gardens,a nice mixture of herbaceous perennials giving a late summer boost of colour and some grasses just coming into their own.

Old School Gardener

Further information: Castle Drogo- National Trust website.



Bounce back…

AS 110mph winds raged across southern England, Britain’s Great Storm of 1987 wreaked devastation across scores of National Trust woodland. Hundreds of thousands of trees – some aged more than 400 years old – were lost, on 3,000 acres across 58 sites. The landscape had been torn apart, and the conservation charity faced the biggest […]

via How woodland devastated by Great Storm of 1987 bounced back on its own — National Trust Press Office


A pao…

Fernanda Pinto is an extraordinary cook who knows how to make the most from the ingredients produced at Quinta de Guimarães. Every day at breakfast she offered us either “pão de ló” or “fatias de Resende.” Both desserts have the same base, a concoction of flour, sugar and eggs. Fatias are covered with a light […]

via A pão de ló recipe — Salt of Portugal

After the rain…

There is a special time just after rain has stopped. It is a moment of silence when Blackbirds and Robins are preparing to burst into excited song after a period when song is stilled by rain. Light has a special quality – it catches any droplet of moisture hanging from foliage or flower. Recently I […]

via After the Rain — greenbenchramblings


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