Category: This and that

April Masterclass…

Do it: mowing Rotary mowers can cope with long grass as well as short Step 1 After a couple of high cuts earlier in the season you should now be cutting your lawn on a regular basis at the height you want it. This can be as frequently as once a week at this time…

via Monthly Masterclass: April — Winterbourne House and Garden

My latest session at Blickling was mainly spent hoeing between some of the side beds in the Walled Garden, alongside Aussie Peter, and we also spent time harvesting rhubarb for sale by donations.

I do enjoy hoeing, especially using the Wolf hoes that we now have . I also have one of these at home and I think it must be my favourite tool (well it at least pushes the hand fork for first place)- it’s a joy pushing and pulling and getting an effective result both ways with the two cutting blades.

I was also pleased to see the result of my (and others’) tulip planting last autumn- there are soem splendid rows of very blousy blooms (see above). Having hoed we harvested the rhubarb. Some stalks must have been as thick as my wrist, and we managed to sell off nearly two crate loads by the end of the day. I don’t think peter had harvested rhubarb before as he set about two plants with such enthusiasm that only a few straggly stalks were left before Project Manager mike noticed and advised to pull rather less per plant! (you can see our respective results in the picture below- ‘Peter’s plants’ are the two stumps in the foreground).

Still, no harm done, as the roots are pretty substantial. The other volunteers were involved in potting on tomato plants, and Peter and I occasionally paused to mix some compost for them. Meanwhile Norfolk peter and Mike were doing some remedial works on some of the irrigation points which had become rather sunk as the soil level around them has built up. It was a reasonably simple job of lifting them up and fixing them in a new wooden case.

There had also been progress elsewhere in the Walled Garden, as some new volunteers with a building background had begun installing the hard surfacing beneath the benches , which Mike says will make mowing the grass a lot easier! Progress continues on the central pergola or apple tunnel, with the arches now fixed in place and the bottom rails also welded on. The rest to follow shortly….

And another bit of progress as the roses that have been temporarily stored in pots on one area of the Walled Garden have bene relocated to the small garden at the back of the Walled Garden- a lovely little enclosed space, just perfect for plant storage until the time comes for it to be properly used…perhaps as a bee hive area, according to Mike.

The tulips in the double borders are also coming to their peak, so enjoy a few pics of these and our rhubarb exploits to close….

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener





Big Data…

The Met Office is facing new and increasing challenges because of the huge volume of data that we manage and produce. Alex Longden, who leads the team responsible for data provision for the data re-use community and private weather sectors, examines the situation in this blog. The 335 million observations of data we store every […]

via Big data – big challenge — Official blog of the Met Office news team

We’re making progress in the Collections Gallery! Although the gallery isn’t quite ready for objects to go back in the Curatorial team have taken the opportunity to start some jobs in there. Case tops have been made and will be fitted in the next couple of days. Next job is to clean the cases, Josh has made a start […]

via Rural Lives — Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse


Back to a Wednesday for my latest session at Blickling, and I joined a num ber of fellow volunteers in the ‘Secret Garden’ for a tidy up.

We forked and hoed our way around the clumps of ferns, and other plants just coming into life and after a couple fo hours you could see we’d been, as barrow loads of leaves and a few weeds were consigned to a nearby trailer.

Just before lunch I went over to see how the Walled Garden was looking and found a few gardeners and volunteers well into concreting in the metal arches for the Apple Tunnel that had been awaiting its final positioning for a few weeks. I took the opportunity of sharing some pictures I’d taken of something similar at Gunby Hall, Lincolnshire, which I’d recently visited. This tunnel is made up of some pretty old timber arches and some very old apple trees, quite an impressive sight (I’ll share more of Gunby Hall in a further post, soon).

After lunch I spent an hour helping tidy up a narrow border to the side of the house, where, amongst other things a ‘Chocolate Vine’ had managed to grow along and up the walls, in a very haphazard manner…I decided to leave it intact rather than lose a lot of the growth, but we managed to remove a lot of dead leaves and cut back a few of the more straggly stems on a Cotoneaster.. As I signed out and passed through the double borders, the tulips were really coming into their own…

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener



Peter Guillerry and David Kroll (eds), Mobilising Housing Histories: Learning from London’s Past (RIBA Publishing, 2017) Back in July 2013, in the very early days of this blog, I attended an invaluable conference hosted by the Institute of Historical Research entitled ‘Mobilising London Housing Histories: the Provision of Homes since 1850’. I’m pleased to see […]

via Mobilising Housing Histories: Learning from London’s Past: a Review — Municipal Dreams

A new report has shown that restoring nature habitats can benefit struggling bird species. The RSPB, British Trust for Ornithology and Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust have today added 15 birds to their ‘red list’ of species currently under threat of extinction in the UK. More than a quarter of UK birds face extinction or significant […]

via National Trust response to State of the UK Birds report — National Trust Press Office

Here’s an article I wrote for Permaculture Research Institute (PRI) – “Do People Really Care about the Environment?”, which looks at current research showing how sustainable different nations are, their attitudes to sustainability, and the root causes of unsustainable behaviour. Read my article on PRI’s website here – Do People Really Care about the Environment?

via Do People Really Care about the Environment? — Deep Green Permaculture

Spring Gems…

Great Dixter in East Sussex is always worth a visit – it’s a jewel garden filled with colour throughout the seasonSpring is sprung and gardens around the garden are awash with colour. There’s always an incredible display of tulips at Great Dixter at this time of year – which marks just the beginning of another…

via Wednesday Walkabout – Spring gems in Sussex and Kent – Great Dixter, Gravetye Manor, Michelham Priory and The Walled Nursery — The Galloping Gardener

I was in early on this Thursday session at Blickling as I had to be off by lunch time. Fell0w volunteer Rory and I were sent off to a new area (for me); known as ‘the Parade’ it lies near the lake and offers an alternative route to the walled Garden.

We set about raking and piling up lots of small sticks that the storm ‘Doris’ had broken off the mature trees lining the path. On the way Rory pointed out a mother duck (or maybe it was a goose) and her three fluffy ducklings… apparently the day before there had been four, so perhaps Mr. Fox had been in and done his worst?

It took us an hour to complete the task, so now the gardening team can cut the grass here without messing it (and their mowers) up. on my way back towards the house I spotted Norfolk Peter who was on his way to the Walled Garden. He took time to show me the work being done on the small brick building that houses a water wheel which I think is somehow connected to the lake water supply and also disposing of the house grey water. Apparently plans are to put in steps so that visitors can go down and see the wheel in operation, another feature to provide some interest.

The water wheel progress

After a quick trip to the Walled Garden, where the apple tunnel is currently being installed, we went to join the other volunteers in the Moat for a tidy up. I edged some grass, pruned a Buddleia and helped Aussie Peter lift out some sedge grass that was starting to take over one corner of this special area.

The moat looks very neat and tidy and it’s a shame that visitors don’t venture down into it to get a better look…that reminds me, I discussed the idea of putting up some signs to encourage visitors down here with Head Gardner Paul, some time ago in the context of the planned Tree Trail. I must remember to include this in our forthcoming discussion about the Trail, which begins with the Magnolia grandiflora that’s trained up the front wall of the house from the moat below.

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener






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