Tag Archive: gravel path

WP_20160505_10_34_04_ProA short session at Blickling this week, as I needed to get home to cut the grass before we head off for Scotland. I mentioned how the Tulips were looking great in the Double Borders last week. Well, I can say that as I turned into them again this week, I was truly ‘stunned’- a word I tend to resist because it has been over-used and devalued somewhat (rather like ‘awesome’ and ‘epic’!).

They must be at ‘peak tulip’ and in some instances are just about to go over, but the mid morning sun made them stand out marvellously.

After recovering (!) I headed off to the Walled Garden once more, and was soon joined by Norfolk Pete (who was detailed to start constructing the wonderful oak welcome sign board near the main entrance), Aussie Pete and Chris , who set about lightly forking over and hoeing, which is what I began with too. Project Manager Mike had heard the weather was going to be dry and warm- so perfect conditions for hoeing. This is  a job I really enjoy- a bit like scything – once you get into the flowing motion, you can lose yourself…..

Well, by the time I left, we had been over about an eighth of the main four growing areas, just loosening the topsoil and removing weeds and large stones, all ready for some planting out. It was satisfying and we paused to share experiences, jokes and general banter as usual; this time comparing our efforts at tracing our family trees amongst other topics.

Mike, meanwhile was finishing off one of the few areas of gravel path still to be completed, and what a difference seeing those paths -plus the grassed ones- makes to the overall impact of the garden.

So, I miss my slot next week as I shall be up on the Isle of Skye; I’m really looking forward to this break with my wife and 6 old friends, lets hope the weather and midges are kind!

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener


Ed, Mike and Pete rowing (nearly) together!

Ed, Mike and Pete rowing (nearly) together!

No, not the folk band, but a team of volunteers and gardeners getting down and dirty!

I mentioned last week that the gravel paths were just about ready to be surfaced. I arrived in the Walled Garden this week with Gardner Ed, who wound me up to expect to be doing a huge amount of Carr stone spreading . I was pleasantly surprised, because most of the hard paths had not only been given a tamped base of Carr stone, but had had their finishing layer of pea shingle too. What a transformation!

The other volunteers were doing some weeding in the inner courtyard and Parterre of the house, but Aussie Pete and I joined Gardener Ed and Project Manager Mike to press on with Carr stone levelling and tamping.

Ed and Pete demonstrating their screed board technique..

Ed and Pete demonstrating their screed board technique..

I’d not done this before, so it was interesting to see the technique in play. A screed board– two pieces of plank bracketed together (and with notches at either end to slide over the metal path edging) was used to pull the Carr stone over and then raked in a rowing fashion to achieve the correct profile. The board had even been given a 10 degree camber from the centre to ensure water run off from the path centre to the edges. This simple, but effective tool gave an impressive result. It was certainly a lot easier with three or four people on the board. I used to enjoy rowing, but my shoulders ached at the end of the day.

Still it was pleasing to see the result, especially after Mike had tamped the surface hard and spread gravel over the paths. After our efforts there’s just one side path and a little area in front of the Bothy left to do, so hopefully someone will get that done before we return next week!

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener


Blickling looking glorious in the spring sunshine

Blickling looking glorious in the spring sunshine

This latest session at Blickling I was mainly running a hoe along the gravel paths of the double borders and one or two other places, with fellow volunteer Jonny.

Enjoyable to begin with and then as the hands got sore, a little tiresome. But, hey ho, it was a lovely day, the Tulips and Hyacinths were blooming and there were plenty of visitors to chat to.

So, there’s not much more to tell this week. After lunch I joined the bulk of the other volunteers in weeding the four major beds in the parterre, laid out in the 1930’s, I believe, by garden designer Norah Lindsay. The banter was lively as usual!

Weeding away in the main parterre borders

Weeding away in the main parterre borders

Oh, and Ed, one of the gardeners, brought in his ‘mother and daughter’ pooches- they went down a treat, as you can imagine from the picture below.

Definitely an 'Ahh...' moment!

Definitely an ‘Ahh…’ moment!

And this was the day I became official- I got my ‘Garden Volunteer’ Badge!

Further Information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener


Norfolk Green Care Network

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