Tag Archive: fruit bushes


WP_20160818_10_09_52_ProI’d missed a week, but the Dahlias, which I thought had reached their best two weeks ago, were definitely in peak form in the Walled Garden at Blickling this week.

It was also pleasing to see that the posts and wires for the soft fruit were finished- but not after some further manoeuvering of our ‘difficult post’, by Project Manager, Mike! And the four new benches are also in place; they look great and offer visitors a chance to sit and enjoy the veg, fruit and flower offerings in the garden. I began work weeding around the herbs – a rather intoxicating experience as I rubbed against Thyme, Sorrel, Garlic, Fennel, Annis and so on…

After this- a mixture of hand weeding and hoeing- I went off to see Head Gardener, Paul and Assistant Head Gardener, Steve to discuss the Tree Trail Project. We are hoping to set out a series of name and information boards for around 20-30 trees within the gardens and perhaps add some ‘child friendly’ activities along the way. I suggested this after visitng Antony house in cornwall, where a similar, volunteer-led project has helped present their wonderful collection of trees.

We had an enjoyable walk around the gardens identifying the trees with a bit of special interest or stories to tell- it was difficult keeping up with the professionals whose encyclopedic knowledge of the many trees on offer was mightily impressive! Still, I think we have the makings of a great project and I’m looking forward to drawing the information together and working with Trust staff and other volunteers to finalise the information boards and leaflets etc. Something of a winter project, I think!

After a late lunch I spent an hour helping Chris and three of the lady volunteers in the corner of the walled garden clearing away the extensive weeds under and around the Mulberry Tree (which is one of those likely to make it to the Tree Trail, too). This area- previously enclosed in glass- is a wilder part of the walled garden, but after our work looked rather more in keeping with the trim borders elsewhere.

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

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WP_20160804_14_13_43_ProRemembered my camera this week! Norfolk Peter and I joined Chris in the Walled Garden in my latest session at Blickling. The ladies were detailed to the ‘Black Garden’ for some (as it turned out) frustrating ‘hands and knees’ weeding around the irises.

Jane and Pam weeding in the Black Border

Jane and Pam weeding in the Black Border

Project Manager Mike had already begun installing the heavy oak posts (all sourced from the Estate) that provide the support for the fruit bushes.Peter and I helped him to finish off the two areas by using lines to make sure the rows of posts (in threes) wer both straight and level, though one post in particular proved to be a pain…first we couldn’t get it level and then we installed it the wrong way round (the holes for the support wires went across rather than along the row)! Chris, mean time was doing great job trimming the edges of the grass paths.

There were plenty of visitors around, many offering compliments for the way the garden has been transformed over the last 18 months or so, and inevitably a few asking what the purple edging plant along the main paths was….as reported last week, this Catmint (Nepeta x faasennii) often confuses visitors, many of whom think it is lavender …perhaps a sign is needed, or maybe we should resist this as it at least is one way (albeit repetitive) of engaging with visitors!

WP_20160804_13_44_23_ProApart from some subtle final positioning to make the tops of the posts roughly line up (sometimes involving standing on an upturned dustbin and using a ‘comedy hammer’ as Chris called it- a large rubber mallet), this was a fairly straightforward job. The oak posts seem really heavy but even so, as the rows are rather long Mike had arranged with fellow gardener Rob to put in some angled supports to help resist the forces that would otherwise pull over the posts- I know about this from bitter experience at Old School Garden , where my posts are gradually toppling inwards with the weight of the blackberry bushes.

Peter and I dug the holes for these angled wooden supports as far as we could in the time available, and Rob and Mike began to put them in the ground, secured with a couple of stakes at their bases to, once more, help to prevent the whole assembly ‘walking’ forwards.

I also took time out to photograph the dahlia border, which is coming to its peak…here’s a gallery…

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Mike told us he’s ordered four new metal benches for the walled garden- cream, simple designs that will look rather stylish…the picture below is of a two person bench, we’ll be getting a three person version.

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

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

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.

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Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

WP_20160608_12_54_50_Pro Another week at Blickling and it was good to get back to the Walled Garden to see the progress and to get stuck in. I see Mike has bought some of those bird scarers that imitate birds of prey. I’ve had mixed results with bird scarers of various kinds- including old cd’s hung out on a washing line and a plastic owl with rotating head! All seem to work only if you keep moving them around. 

I spent the morning hoeing between the fruit bushes which are coming on well. There has also been much planting out of lettuces and other veggy which will give the kitchen an excellent supply in a few weeks time. There will probably be plenty left  for selling to the public too.

After lunch I planted out two varieties of courgette; one green, one gold, planted alternately. Set about a metre apart, these should bulk up into big bushes.

Courgettes planted, Mike watering them in

Courgettes planted, Mike watering them in

There are still plenty of plants in the glasshouses, and the rest of the gardens are also looking good.

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener

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