Tag Archive: winter garden

Our friends Jen and Dave visited us at the weekend and on the way they stopped off at the wonderful Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire. This National Trust property has a spectacular display of Snowdrops (finished by the time of their visit), formal gardens, summer borders and also a winding Winter Garden which features a fantastic mixture of flower, leaf and stem colour. Here are Jen’s pictures from that Winter Garden; I expect it will soon be pruned- thanks Jen!

Further information: National Trust Website

Old School Gardener



WP_20150212_15_36_39_ProMy latest session of voluntary gardening at Blickling Hall focused on the Winter Garden and Dell once more- my there are a lot of leaves out there!

We volunteers continued to clear and tidy the Dell and Winter Garden. I had the pleasure of planting some wonderful pale yellow Hellebores to bulk up the flower show in the Winter Garden with Joan, my ‘planting partner’  for the day. I also got a few blisters from forking over the borders around the trees and shrubs, but it was well worth it- several visitors commented very positively.

I’m now away from Blickling for a couple of weeks, but I’m continuing my voluntary gardening at Gressenhall from next week, beginning the ‘pre opening’ tidy up.

 Further information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener


The Dell, Blickling- scene of this week's voluntary push..

The Dell, Blickling- scene of this week’s voluntary push..

I had a varied menu of gardening at Blicking this week…

I began with some ‘rescue pruning’of some old Espalier Pear trees on the orchard wall next to the Walled Garden. These hadn’t been pruned for some time and had put on a lot of thin growth (and some thicker, more rangy branches) in the past year or two. Working with Mike, Project Manager of the Walled Garden, we also tidied up the beds and paths near these old specimens and it now presents itself as ‘looked after’.

Mike was telling me there’d been a problem with something nibbling the newly emerging tulip leaves in the Walled Garden raised beds- pheasants were the suspected culprits! A few sheets of ‘Enviromesh’ over these was now adding some protection. I mulched around these with some shreddings to create walkable paths and finished off with the same treatment around an old Mulberry Tree in the corner of the garden; this will keep weeds down and moisture in over the growing season to come.

'Enviromesh' keeping the Pheasants from the Tulips..

‘Enviromesh’ keeping the Pheasants from the Tulips..

After lunch I joined the rest of the volunteers in ‘The Dell’, which lies next to the Winter Garden I’d been helping to tidy up in previous weeks. The Winter Garden was more or less finished (bar planting out some new Hellebores) and it looks splendid in the low afternoon sun, with the flowers of Witch Hazel, Daphne, Sarcococca, Snowdrops and Hellebores standing out against the cleared and ‘tickled’ dark soil- the fragrance of the Daphne is especially memorable.


The Dell is a sunken garden with different interest. Heavily shaded, and quite steeply sloping in places, it is home to a collection of ferns, evergreen shrubs and other such plants. We pruned some of the hollies back, tidied away on the slopes, pruning back dead stems and foliage, and of course removed- you guessed it-  more leaves!

 Further information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener



This week’s little jaunt at Blickling was a revisit to the Winter Garden, which I helped to start clearing of leaves and generally tidying up, last week.

The crisp cold day began with more leaf clearing and I was soon joined by half a dozen other volunteers who were kind enough to start clearing and loading the various leaf piles I made as I went across the borders. Fortunately I’d finished raking by lunchtime and could begin ‘tickling’ the matted soil surface with a border fork; generally perking up the look of the borders, including revealing many more clumps of snow drops and hellebores and doing the odd bit of pruning to Dogwoods that were starting to layer.

After and hour the heavens opened- thunder, lightning and a heavy snow shower made the going rather more challenging. We continued for a while, but it was soon clear that the snow was settling and we couldn’t see the earth for turning, so ‘an early bath’ was in order. Thanks to the ‘Leaf Maidens’ who diligently gathered in next year’s leaf mould and worked with me to improve the appearance of this garden.

Sorry about the poor quality photographs- a combination of wet screen, poor light and shaking hands (in the cold) made for a bit of ‘shake’ on the ‘phone camera!



WP_20150129_14_26_03_ProFurther information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener


WP_20150122_12_03_53_ProMy latest session as a volunteer gardener with the National Trust at Blickling Hall involved working in another area of the gardens- the Winter Garden, which I think was planted up a few years ago as an area to feature colourful stems, fragrance and flowers at this quiet time of the year in the garden.

Work in the Walled Garden has been continuing, however, and with a few frosty nights it has been possible to move and spread the rest of the farmyard manure over the beds. As you can see below, this has helped to give definition to these planting areas…

Muck spreading in the Walled Garden- get to work worms! Picture: Michael Owers

Muck spreading in the Walled Garden- get to work worms! Picture: Michael Owers

For gardener Rebecca, me and the other ‘Thursday volunteers’, this week involved raking off a thick quilt of Sweet Chestnut and other leaves, tidying up spent stems and foliage and sprucing up the Hellebores…. as well as uncovering the first snowdrops. When I say ‘quilt’ I’m not joking – I just hope the plants underneath haven’t been as shocked as I have been, recently, emerging from under my own quilt in the frosty mornings!

So, for me the day that was spent almost entirely raking and loading leaves into trailers to be carried away for turning into leaf mould. Definitely one that required a ‘Radox Bath’ on my return home!

Even though it was repetitive work, it was also very satisfying, showing off this lovely garden with its over-arching trees and understory of shrubs and winter perennials- and hopefully giving some of the plants a good chance to ‘pick up’ as the seasons move on.

Further information:

Blickling Hall website

Blickling Hall Facebook page

A 360 degree tour of Blickling Hall

Old School Gardener


Royal arms on a superb tapestry hung in the ‘waiting room’ to the royal family’s quarters.

Just before visitng the Ajuda Botanical Garden in Lisbon, we took a tour of the nearby Ajuda Palace, once the home of the Portuguese Royal Family and resplendent with rich decor, furniture, tapestries and other curiosities. A particular novelty was the indoor ‘Winter Garden’ which is a high ceilinged room hung with plants, glass grapes that catch the light, a small fountain complete with its own ‘menagerie’ and splendid bird cages. And gold is everywhere. One can imagine how this room would have been a delight in the colder months with its visual interest and birdsong.

Otherwise known as the ‘Marble Room’, this space is a good example of how controlling nature and bringing it into the house became popular in the 19th century. The walls and ceiling are lined with alabaster, the gift of the Viceroy of Egypt. This rather grand space was nonetheless intended for leisure and relaxation- a place for princely birthday parties and royal dinners on a table set around the Carrara marble fountain.

Old School Gardener


‘Anglesey Abbey is a country house, formerly a priory, in the village of Lode, 512 miles (8.9 km) northeast of Cambridge, England. The house and its grounds are owned by the National Trust and are open to the public as part of the Anglesey Abbey, Garden & Lode Mill property, although some parts remain the private home of the Fairhaven family.

The 98 acres (400,000 m²) of landscaped grounds are divided into a number of walks and gardens, with classical statuary, topiary and flowerbeds. The grounds were laid out in an 18th-century style by the estate’s last private owner, the 1st Baron Fairhaven, in the 1930s. A large pool, the Quarry Pool, is believed to be the site of a 19th-century coprolite mine. Lode Water Mill, dating from the 18th century was restored to working condition in 1982 and now sells flour to visitors.’

Source and further information:


National Trust website

Finding Nature

Nature Connectedness Research Blog by Prof. Miles Richardson

Norfolk Green Care Network

Connecting People with Nature

Discover WordPress

A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

Susan Rushton

Celebrating gardens, photography and a creative life

Daniel Greenwood

Unlocking landscapes

Alphabet Ravine

Lydia Rae Bush Poetry


Australian Pub Project, Established 2013

Vanha Talo Suomi

a harrowing journey of home improvement & garden renovation

How I Killed Betty!

Mad as a box of frogs? Most probably ... but if I can’t be perfect, then I’ll happily be fabulously imperfect!

Bits & Tidbits


Rambling in the Garden

.....and nurturing my soul

The Interpretation Game

Cultural Heritage and the Digital Economy


Sense of place, purpose, rejuvenation and joy


Notes from the Gardeners...

Deep Green Permaculture

Connecting People to Nature, Empowering People to Live Sustainably


A girl and her garden :)

%d bloggers like this: