Tag Archive: cold frames


Back to Thursday, this week at Blickling; it was good to see my fellow volunteers, who haven’t been with for a few weeks…so there was much catching up of news as you might imagine.

Most of us were sent off to the Walled Garden, where I was very excited to see the fully (well nearly) installed cold frames…what an impressive sight! They are just awaiting a set of stays to make sure they can be lifted fully open and propped whilst plants are placed in and out.

Norfolk Pete, Jane and I set about lifting the bed of Penstemons that had been slotted in here last autumn. We transported them over to the potting shed where other volunteers and gardener Rebecca were trimming them, potting them up and planting cuttings to propagate.

These are the Penstemons that are used at the top of the Parterre garden wall to replace the purple hyacinths that are just now coming into bloom. As I’ve been at Blickling for just over a year, I’m beginning to get the annual routine that affects much of the gardening activity here (and most places for that matter!); you may recall that a few weeks ago I was (once again) planting out Hellebores.

After lifting the Penstemons, Peter and I dug over the bed, leaving me a little time to help finish off the potting up. And as there were some hyacinths on sale I bagged eight and have slotted these into a border at home where some of last year’s were also put…sounds like I’m repeating myself?!

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

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A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

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I returned for a Wednesday session at Blickling this week. I joined a group detailed to tidying up the front edge of the moat, sitting directly in front of the main house entrance.

After a briefing from Assistant Head Gardener, Steve, we set about releasing a line of rather old, gnarled Fuchsia magellanica bushes from a smothering of Clematis montana, the latter climbing up the inside of the moat wall, scrambling over the metal post and rail fence and tumbling over the fuchsias.

Steve told us the plan was to cut down the Clematis after flowering and try to control it’s growth a bit more. This is a very vibrant plant and once established can easily smother anything that gets in its way. Steve had already prepared the job for us by using the hedge cutter to remove most of the fuchsia stems. I set to work trying to remove much of the dead Clematis stems that had accumulated over several years.

It was tough going, trying to preserve some living and soon-to-flower stems, whilst at the same time cutting back the remaining fuchsia stems. The rest of the group followed on by tidying around the fuchsias, removing quite a few leaves and tickling over the soil.

By the end of the day we had completed the whole border, and finished off by wrapping the surviving Clematis stems around the tops of the posts and tying them to the rails. Hopefully, we’ll still see some flowers in a month or two, before the uncovered fuchsias bloom later in the year.

As we worked, we spoke to several visitors as the House fully opened this week, and it was amusing to see and listen to members of ‘The Diggers’ group who dress up in period costume and impersonate various characters in Blickling’s past. Today visitors were cheerily greeted by former Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin and the Blickling Head Gardener, circa 1939!

I popped over to the Walled Garden where the replacement cold frames were in the course of being installed. The Staffordshire company who have made these (and who also restored the greenhouses), have done a great job. I was interested to learn that the frames feature plastic glazing which has been pre-fitted. This will lighten the panels and provide a safer surface, as he frames are strung out alongside paths.

It was also good to see the various metal arches that will form the ‘Fruit Tunnel’ along the central pathway. These are now loosely placed in their holes, awaiting concreting in, followed by painting and planting up.

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

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wp_20161023_15_51_29_proSo this week we were mainly lifting, dividing and replanting herbaceous plants in the Walled Garden at Blickling…

The ‘we’ constituted the two Peters and me, with Gardener Rob putting up support wires for the wall-trained fruit. Project Manager Mike had decided to reorganise the long border with herbaceous perennials into something a bit easier to manage and negotiate from the cut flower point of view. So lines of the same plants were the order of the day, rather than the clumps that had developed over the last year or two. The rest of the volunteers (there were only a handful this week), went over to the parterre for some weeding.

Digging all done...Mike resting on his spade, while Rob presses on with wiring up support for the wall fruit...

Digging all done…Mike resting on his spade, while Rob presses on with wiring up support for the wall fruit…

 

As we left for lunch, one of the other staff, Lizzie, was just starting up her seed sowing session aimed at children who are visiting the house and gardens (it was half term week of course). Some enthusiastic youngsters were more interested in filling some mini watering cans and pouring the contents over some nearby plants…oh well, good practice I suppose.

Lizzie gearing up for some seed sowing...

Lizzie gearing up for some seed sowing…

Over lunch, Gardener Rebecca’s young dog, Otto (who is kept in a cage in the bothy during work time) looked (and whined  painfully) as he watched me devour a rather nice Russet apple- I gather he had already had one earlier in the day and had rather liked it!

Otto the dog is in there somewhere!

Otto the dog is in there somewhere!

It was reasonably straightforward to lift and group plants before replanting them, some needing to be further divided. After the lifting out came the digging over of the border. This took us pretty much up to ‘home time’ and we conveniently left the clearing up to Mike, who had joined us after lunch to supervise and help with the replanting.

Regimenting the cut flowers...

Regimenting the cut flowers…

Mike told me that the new cold frames were due to be delivered on 1st March, so I look forward to seeing them installed. Also, I gather we are due to see some new volunteers soon, so yet more hands to make light(er) work!

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

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Cordon gooseberries at the ready in the recently erected Fruit Cage...

Cordon gooseberries at the ready in the recently erected Fruit Cage…

Another morning session at Blickling this week. My hip was feeling good, but my trip to the doctors after this session revealed some moderate arthritis, so I’ll have to be careful, but hopefully I can increase the gardening…there’s certainly lots to do at home let alone anywhere else…

Today, we split into two groups, the ladies weeding in the main gardens, we chaps sent to the Walled garden for some weeding amongst the pots of roses (due to be planted out soon), and tickling over one of the beds, removing a few minor weeds as we went. I joined Norfolk Peter on the latter, whilst Rory and Gordon headed over to the roses.

For the roses...

For the roses…

We had a good chat about this and that and also talked about the plans for the walled garden. I’d found out from Project Manager, Mike that the new cold frames were due to be delivered and fixed in the next week or two.

ready for fitting- the base of the new cold frames next to one of the glasshouses

ready for fitting- the base of the new cold frames next to one of the glasshouses

I also spotted some of the metal arches that are to be erected over the main path, where apples will be trained up and over them. Rory showed me the holes he and Peter had dug last week in preparation for this.

And I was pleased to see that the new panels for the information board at the entrance had been fitted; they give some interesting insights into the history of the garden, recent achievements and something on the vision for the future.

As we finished off the border digging, Peter and I remarked on how well the bean tunnel we had built from hazel a couple of years ago was looking; it has  the string ties replaced each year, but it still looks good and solid!

wp_20170209_12_47_51_proFurther Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

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ducksApologies…my latest session at Blickling and I forgot my camera…so the pics here are a few from other visits (and the one above borrowed from the Trust’s latest newsletter).

WP_20160714_15_35_58_Pro - CopyAlternative titles for today’s post were ‘Herding Frogs’, ‘Reframing’ or ‘Shuffling the Pack’…A rather shower affected day (I was in with the Wednesday crew this week), saw me and fellow volunteer Peter (another one!) weeding over two sections of cold frame (including removing large sections of worn out weed membrane) and putting down a new covering of landscape fabric, before tidying over the stored plants and rearranging these (hence shufling…). It looked a lot tidier and as a bonus I gained soem ratherr splendid (if a bit leggy) Ricinus communis plants. These will fit rather well in my front circular border at Old School Garden…with its rather exotic feel. I was also allowed to remove some runners from a clutch of Achillea nobilis susbsp. nealreichii, with its lovely creamy plate flowers and silvery foliage.

WP_20160714_12_14_48_ProWith half an hour left at the end of the day I went round hoeing the currants..using one of a new set of two-way hoes (made by Wolf, and one of which I have at home). These are really a lot more effective than conventional dutch hoes.

Currants hoed with the new two-way hoes- a delight!

Currants hoed with the new two-way hoes- a delight!

As reported last week, the dahlia border in the walled garden is starting to pop, though perhaps will look even better next week….Sorry about the lack of pics to accompany this post, I’ll do better next time!

Click here to listen to an interview with Project Manager, Mike Owers, on BBC Radio Norfolk-  on the Chrissie Jackson programme around 1 hour 7 minutes in…!

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

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