Tag Archive: grass paths

WP_20160421_10_36_32_ProMy latest session at Blickling was spent in the Walled Garden, once more. On my way I stopped to look at the wonderful display of Tulips in the Double Borders, caught in the early morning sun.

As I arrived it was clear that a lot had happened in the Walled Garden since last week- mainly that the grass paths had been turfed. These really look great, and I also saw that the first prototype metal arch had been installed at one end of the central path… this will eventually be a ‘fruit arch’ covering the entire length of this path.

One group of volunteers were set to weeding in the Parterre garden, whilst the two Petes and a new volunteer, Chris and I were detailed to path edging (Norfolk Pete) and digging (yes, you guessed it!) and mulching some borders which will be home to an array of cut flowers, all ready and waiting to go in from the nearby cold frames.

We moved over to one of the quarter beds and dig some double digging- the three of us in line. Or rather, ‘bastard digging’ (!) , so Mike tells me as he says ‘double digging would involve incorporating some organic matter in the trenches before turning in the next spit of topsoil.

Norfolk Peter- a bolting we will go...

Norfolk Peter- a bolting we will go…

‘Norfolk Pete’ spent the day bolting in some joining plates for the metal edging, which appears to be nearly complete. I saw a large pile (some 120 tonnes) of Carr Stone in the orchard, which is waiting to be put down as the base for the hard paths , which will have peas shingle laid on top. A bit of path near the potting shed had been finished off as a trial run and it does look neat. mike said we may spend next week laying and raking this gravel over the rest of the paths, the Carr stone having been rammed hard. Carr Stone (the gingerbread coloured sand stone found in West Norfolk), when broken down, provides a perfect sandy path sub surface; it binds together well and is hard wearing.

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener


The Black Garden with its newly gravelled surface -one of the best views in the garden

View across the Black Garden with its newly gravelled surface; the ‘classic’ view of Blickling

It’s Thursday, so it must be …digging at Blickling!

My latest session involved working with ‘Aussie Pete’ in preparing the soil on some of the paths, ready for turfing next week. you may recall that there are two areas where grass paths cross two of the quarters of the Walled Garden? I’ve lost count of the times we seem to have moved soil, dug it over etc, but after being trodden and barrowed over for a few weeks, it certainly needed ‘fluffing up’ to ensure the turf, when it’s laid, takes easily to the soil underneath.

Aussie Pete 'fluffing up' the soil for some grass paths

Aussie Pete ‘fluffing up’ the soil for some grass paths

‘Norfolk Pete’ was off putting in the remaining lengths of metal edging around the Walled Garden, whilst the remainder of the volunteers were set to weed and aerate the soil in the border beds which are being used to grow cut flowers. Gardener Rebecca was confined to the potting shed sowing trays of veg which are starting to fill the greenhouses.

Weeding in the Cut Flower border

Weeding in the Cut Flower border

During the day we met three new volunteers who will join us next time (assuming they haven’t been put off!) and ‘Aussie Pete’ disappeared for an hour or two in the morning to do some initial training as a ‘Garden Guide’- one of those volunteers that take people around the gardens and give them useful information on its history, layout and challenges. I’ve thought of volunteering to do this as I enjoy meeting the public, but for now my schedule doesn’t allow this…still in a year or two, maybe?

Having made pretty good progress with the soil forking over, I think Project Manager Mike must have felt sorry for me, as he asked if I’d like to do some work on the newly planted soft fruit bushes. I do enjoy pruning and tying in, and so this was a welcome relief from the digging.

You may recall that a week or two ago I mentioned some oak trunks being taken to a local sawmill to be turned into posts and other items? The posts will secure wires that these fruit bushes will be trained against, and Mike was keen to get them pruned and tied in to temporary canes to begin their ‘basic training’. So, I set to work on three varieties of gooseberries, and some redcurrants and wine berries (volunteer Pam says these are gorgeous). Some of the plants are being grown as straight cordons, others as fans.

Though a bit fiddly (I’d succeeded in cutting my finger with a bread knife the day before, so my elastoplasted finger wasn’t the most nimble), this was an enjoyable task that took me up to lunch time. After that ‘Aussie Pete’ returned and we continued to finish off fluffing up the soil for the grass paths …so we will possibly be turf laying next time….

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


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