Tag Archive: bothy


WP_20160630_11_07_24_ProAn important day …Gardener Rob celebrates 15 years at Blickling, the new Bothy is brought into commission and the Walled Garden is declared fully open too!

A brief spell of mulching the raspberries gave way to a gathering in the new bothy where we tucked into some splendid food and drink and congratulated Rob. Head Gardener Paul thanked Rob for all his efforts and at the same time those of the wider team of volunteers and gardeners; he estimated that the gardeners between them have over 100 years experience of working at Blickling…though 44 of these are accounted for by Assistant Head Gardener, Steve!

The volunteers spent the rest of the day tidying up in the Walled Garden, which is now looking nearly full and has plenty of height as the plants get a hold. There’s also some rather good home made interwoven fencing to complete the boundaries, made from larch felled on the estate and looking pretty substantial.

Having mulched the raspberries, I weeded this and the strawberries next door; these include a white strawberry called ‘Snow White’! Mike asked me to trail the many runners in the strawberries along the rows to bulk them up and create a lot of new plants- it looks like we won’t be seriously cropping these as it’s their first year. So, a day of weeding and a tidy looking bed as a result.

Elsewhere in the Gardens there’s currently a display of sculpture intermingled with the planting…with some interesting results…

The Walled Garden fully open… and so the many visitors are now able to wander freely. And as a result we can chat to them about the garden and  share gardening experiences, one of the nicest aspects of working in this wonderful place.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

Oh dear, first mud on a nice new floor...

Oh dear, first mud on a nice new floor…

My second Wednesday at Blickling was focused on the Walled Garden. Joined by three other volunteers (one of whom was also a newcomer to Wednesdays), we finished off shifting top soil onto the beds to level them up to the path edges.

So, more barrowing and raking for starters. The available soil had been shifted by the gardeners from the piles in the orchard next door, so we didn’t have far to go. But it was pretty strenuous, nonetheless. The space created will soon be (temporary) home to 100 tonnes of crushed Carr Stone- which will be used to surface the main paths in the Walled Garden.

Since my last session here, the Walled Garden has taken some further big steps forwards; rows of Catmint have been planted along some of the paths which will give a colourful, fragrant and insect-attracting floor to the trained fruit bushes, some of which had also been planted by the canes I had helped set out a few weeks ago.

The other big step is the finishing off of the new Bothy, from where, around mid morning, Project Manager Mike shouted ‘Tea time Team!’- I think this might have been the first time it had been used for refreshments (but probably not the first time Mike had made tea for the volunteers). I duly christened the new room -with it’s shiny spotted grey flooring specially chosen by Mike to hide the dirt!

'Tea time Team!'- Mike in the new Bothy...will it be too comfortable for our own good?!

‘Tea time Team!’- Mike in the new Bothy…will it be too comfortable for our own good?!

After lunch (taken, for now in the old bothy near the double borders), we finished off shifting manure to the beds where the soft fruit (Raspberries, Strawberries and the like) will soon be planted. I may be on trenching in this lovely stuff in my next session (back to Thursday). To finish off the day a couple of us raked over the new soil to avoid the expected rain panning the surface. Another group were finishing off the oak path edging which looks tremendous. Mike tells me he’s decided to turf these grass paths so that they can be used this season.

The final stretch of oak edging to the grass paths in the Walled Garden

The final stretch of oak edging to the grass paths in the Walled Garden

As I left for the day I had a quick word with gardener Rob in the car park, where he was about to deliver half a dozen large oak trunks to a sawmill in nearby Hevingham; these are going to be shaped into the posts for the lines of Raspberries, Blackberries, Tayberries etc.  which will be tied into wires strung between them.

So, some more lovely ‘home grown’ oak will add a touch of class (and longevity) to the Walled Garden. Mike says he’s glad that, at long last, he can soon stop being a builder and start being a gardener once again!

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

 

WP_20160310_12_56_22_Pro

The final solution for the trained fruit trees along the central path?

This week’s session at Blickling was easier- at least to begin with- than the previous few. Norfolk Peter and I were detailed to measure out the positions of the new trained fruit  around the edges and across the middle of the Walled Garden.

Placing and tying in canes to mark the planting positions was pretty straightforward around the perimeter- Mike plans for these to be vertically planted and then trained. Then we needed a bit of discussion about the central path, where Mike wants to put in some angled cordons for apples and pears. Putting them all in at 45 degrees and pointing the same way proved problematic; we ended up with plants placed too close to the concrete footings of the metal posts and some cordons would have to wrap around the corners or there would be gaps at the upper sections if we stuck rigidly to the spaces between each post…

After a bit of trial and error we came up with a combination of outwardly angled and a vertical espalier for each complete stretch of the wire and posts; this would mean some cordons growing over the intermediate metal posts and the angle would have to be steeper than 45 degrees. But overall it seemed to be a pleasing arrangement, and after they were in place I could see two other advantages; the design would visually slow you down as you proceeded along the path (rather than being hastened through if they had all be pointing in the same direction) and the angles nicely framed the other central path where these cross.

The rest of the volunteers were off digging over the parterre alongside the Hall, removing dead or dying Catmint and roses and replanting with new stock.

After lunch, having finished off the cane placing, Peter helped Mike measure up the splendid carved oak top trim for the new noticeboard and I barrowed in some soil and manure along the borders in the walled garden in preparation for the planting out of the many new plants that seem to be arriving in time for my next session… so next time it will be more gardening, less construction.

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

 

WP_20160303_12_57_32_ProThe pace is quickening in the Walled Garden at Blickling. Having missed a session, I returned to discover the second Glasshouse restored and looking wonderful, with work to install the cold frames under way.

Cold Frames under contruction

Cold Frames under construction

I discovered that in my absence my fellow volunteers – ‘Aussie’ Pete and ‘Norfolk’ Pete – had been busy painting the metal posts that will carry wires for trained fruit.

Aussie Peter getting to grips with the painting

Aussie Peter getting to grips with the painting

In my latest session Aussie P continued with this, whilst Norfolk P and I finished off double digging between these posts in preparation for the fruit bush planting.

Project Manager Mike was well into asembling the wires, including the straining bolts that enable them to be tensioned.

And in the new bothy, work was underway to fit a new kitchen. In here I also saw a wonderful carved oak panel that will sit atop the oak noticeboard installed near the entrance, installed some weeks ago.

Sneak preview...part of the carved oak rail to be set atop the new noticeboard

Sneak preview…part of the carved oak rail to be set atop the new noticeboard

A new kitchen for the new bothy

A new kitchen for the new bothy

Whilst we three set to in the walled garden the remaining volunteers went about cutting back and tidying the borders around the moat to the house, which contain a bank of perennial Fuchsias.

After lunch it was a case of ‘all hands  to the wheel’.

As the house was due to open in a couple of days a big effort was needed to clear away the excavations that have been underway to install the Lake Source Heat  system I reported on a few weeks ago.

Along with a digger, tractor and trailer, which were used to remove some sloppy spoil, we loaded barrows and filled in a trench with crushed concrete, which was later smoothed nad compacted before having gravel spread to restore the pathway near the House.

Intense activity in a confined space...restoriung a path near the house

Intense activity in a confined space…restoriung a path near the house

Serious ‘Yakka’ once more, but a satisfying bit of work as the gardening staff and volunteers pulled together amidst the usual banter….

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

 

The newly refurbished Bothy is nearing completion; a home for gardening volunteers, office and shop for the produce to come

The newly refurbished Bothy is nearing completion; a home for gardening volunteers, office and shop for the produce to come

I worked with recent volunteer recruit, Peter (another Peter, this one with an Australian accent), in this week’s voluntary gardening at Blickling. Whilst the other Peter got on with some welding of the metal edging in the walled garden, ‘Aussie’ Peter and I double dug some stretches of soil where new fruit bushes will be planted and trained into espaliers along wires.

Not much evidence of our hard wrok, but these stretches of soil are now ready to be planted up with fruit trees

Not much evidence of our hard work, but these stretches of soil are now ready to be planted up with fruit trees

The rest of the volunteers did some more tidying of the borders in the Orangery Garden. To the crackle of welding torch and a digger (driven by ‘Dud’), which Mike had got in to dig over the surface of the top beds, Peter and I got into some serious ‘Yakka’, as Peter called it.

I gather this is an aboriginal term for ‘hard work’. Well it was. Not helped by a slight back ache I’d had for a few days (after overloading the firewood basket at home). Still, we soon got into a rhythm and entered ‘into the zone’- that wonderful mental state where the unconscious mind takes over and you do things on ‘autopilot’. But this didn’t stop us having a good natter, exchanging life and family backgrounds, football and so on.

Meanwhile Project Manager, Mike and Gardener Rob were trying to install some of the remaining metal edging alongside the northern border, which the other Peter duly helped cut up into the right lengths.

A couple of days earlier I’d attended the Blickling ‘Mid Winter Meeting’ at the local High School. This is an opportunity for staff and volunteers to hear from Heads of department about plans for the coming season (the House reopens on 5th March). I thoroughly enjoyed this event, which had some fun, unusual and inspiring talks to get us fired up for the year to come.

My wife has been sorting out our family photos and similar stuff, and came across this old postcard of Blickling among several I’d bought many years ago. I think it dates from 1907  – and includes a brief, cryptic message to a ‘Maude Meachen’ together with franked Edward VII stamp. It shows the rather fussy parterre before its major redesign in the 1930’s – see how small the Yew trees are, which today are the huge ‘acorns’ that are the major structural element in todays garden.

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

 

WP_20160204_12_45_49_ProMore forking and levelling this week in the walled garden. It was good exercise and inspired me to begin excavating my new wildlife pond at Old School Garden the day afterwards.

You may recall that fellow volunteer, Peter and I had continued getting the grass cross paths ready for turfing or seeding? Well we carried on for another few hours this week, and I’m pleased to say that the majority of this prep is now done.

Nearly there...forking over and topping up the cross paths ready for grassing over

Nearly there…forking over and topping up the cross paths ready for grassing over

It was great to see some obvious progress in this regeneration project; Manager Mike and Gardener Rob carried on with the installation of the metal posts that will carry wires to support a wide range of trained fruit bushes and trees. I also noticed that the roof of the new Bothy (with shop and office) was virtually finished, complete with two squat chimneys. I gathered from Darren, the roofer, that we’d missed the traditional ‘topping out’ ceremony where the making of a building wind and weather tight is celebrated with a bottle of bubbly…just the day before!!

There is also a beautiful solid oak noticeboard by the entrance to the garden , which I understand from Mike is to have a lovely carved top fixed to it, like the one near the main entrance to the gardens. Mike is contemplating a ‘past, present, future’ display on the three boards. I like this idea; it will kindle visitor interest in the walled garden as an historic feature of the House and its surrounds and inform them about seasonal jobs and future projects.

The new notice board

The new notice board

The crocuses near the entrance to the Walled Garden were showing their colour, and there is now plenty of other floral interest in the gardens.

WP_20160204_10_41_47_ProFurther Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

 

Levelling up the new cross paths was this week's focus.

Levelling up the new cross paths was this week’s focus.

Having dug out channels for the oak edging to some paths in the Walled Garden in previous weeks, my colleague Peter and I had a day filling in the paths with soil in readiness for these to be put to grass.

It was hard work shifting sticky soil from a huge pile 100 yards away from the paths. These will form access ways across the four major quarters of the garden and will be grassed over- Project Manager Mike is yet to decide whether to turf or seed them.

In contrast to our previous session, today the weather was sunny and ‘crispy cold’ and the exercise (including arm extension from barrowing heavy loads!) was refreshing, if tiring. Two days on and I’m still feeling the effects on my shoulder muscles.  The first line of metal posts has been installed along one side of a quarter and with a nice dark mulch underneath starts to really define the shape of the garden.

Metal posts installed and mulched underneath in readiness for fruit planting

Metal posts installed and mulched underneath in readiness for fruit planting

It was also encouraging to see the progress on restoring the building in the corner of the walled garden which is to become a new ‘Gardeners’ Bothy, plus office and shop. This is expected to be finished by March, when a new crop of volunteers begins work; the recent ‘Volunteer Recruitment Day’, seems to have been a great success.

The roof well underway on the new 'bothy'- pic Blickling Estate

The roof well underway on the new ‘bothy’- pic Blickling Estate

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

 

Daniel Greenwood

The language of leaves

Alphabet Ravine

Lydia Rae Bush Poetry

TIME GENTS

Australian Pub Project

Vanha Talo Suomi

a harrowing journey of home improvement

How I Killed Betty!

The Diary and blog on How to Tackle Depression and Anxiety!

Bits & Tidbits

RANDOM BITS & MORE TIDBITS

Rambling in the Garden

.....and nurturing my soul

The Interpretation Game

Cultural Heritage and the Digital Economy

pbmGarden

Sense of place, purpose, rejuvenation and joy

SISSINGHURST GARDEN

Notes from the Gardeners...

Deep Green Permaculture

Connecting People to Nature, Empowering People to Live Sustainably

BloominBootiful

A girl and her garden :)

gwenniesworld

ABOUT MY GARDEN, MY TRAVELS AND ART

Salt of Portugal

all that is glorious about Portugal

The Ramblings of an Aspiring Small Town Girl

Cooking, gardening, fishing, living, laughing.

aristonorganic

"The Best of the Best"

PetalPushin

Thoughts from a professional Petal Pusher

%d bloggers like this: