Welcome! Join me here regularly to catch up on my gardening endeavours through my GardeningWays Journal. I spend much of my time gardening professionally for Rachel de Thame at Broadwell, in Gloucestershire, and my journal updates aim to cover progress and pick up on other horticultural highlights too.
The six-on-Saturday images below give a flavour of my gardening week, and what follows below is a little more background for each of the pictures.
To summarise my week, as for the preceding one, ‘rollercoaster’ yet again comes to mind – linked specifically to the weather and its effects on the working week. Yes, another week spent mostly in wellies and waterproofs! It was however another productive week where some key tasks were accomplished, and even allowing for a day out for Christmas shopping, I still managed to walk 19.4 miles around that garden over the four days!
A small orchard is part of this wonderful garden, and one that has been very productive in past years. At this point in time however, the orchard grass had grown and collapsed upon itself, resulting in a tangled, matted surface, where even the moss had been crowded out and had died off!
Having previously cleared a good quantity of leaves from across the surface, my task this week was to start the grass clearance and really take things back to basics. Starting with a steady, tight, strimming session, the above image taken before a final clearance.
I’m up the top of a long ladder in this image, maintaining three points of contact I have to say, whilst giving some ivy a topping. At this point it was a relatively light pruning task to start the process of getting this ivy back to an acceptable height limit, for above this point it clothes the balustrading and needs gradual clearance from above – more of this to come!
Above, I’m relieved to say, is the last of the recently acquired bulbs before being planted. It was quite a tall order to get some areas cleared in time to get the bulbs in, but I have to say it’s given a good early opportunity to learn about the soil conditions, and to introduce myself to some of the weed species that ‘have’ enjoyed living at Broadwell – as far as the weeds are concerned; let the game commence!
Another box I’m glad to have ticked this week is the boxing up of dahlia tubers for winter storage. Having previously released them from their summer containers, thoroughly cleaned and dried each tuber, here they finally get to rest. Numerous tubers boxed in dry compost will sit out the winter in this frost free shed for the winter. Sleep tight, as they say…
With all the rain it wasn’t the most inspiring week for photographs, but as for last week, the weather threw us a late-on-Friday treat of an incredible sunset. I tried here to capture the last light through raindrops, the collective gracefully but fleetingly decorating the naked winter stems in the orchard.
Finally, it was a treat to be given the opportunity to create a wreath for another door to the house at Broadwell, which accompanies a stunning wreath given as a gift from a neighbouring property. Creating a wreath is a lovely way to spend some time in the lead up to Christmas, feeling appropriate as a traditional activity that many Head Gardeners of old would have carried out.
I also feel that it’s a good opportunity to bring together botanical elements from the very place where a wreath is going to hang; a lovely way for a gardener to capture the essence of what their winter garden has to offer. The above wreath contains the traditional holly and ivy, but also bay laurel, pittosporum, a little cypress and rose hips to enhance the natural colouring. (I’m glad to report the wreath was given the de Thame seal of approval, thankfully! 😅 )
In past years my wreaths for the tall studded front doors to Dunster Castle in Somerset aimed to capture the exotic nature of the gardens, and in recent years my wreaths at Compton Verney in Warwickshire were collected from its Georgian landscape garden and often tried to capture an exhibition of the moment. My most recent wreath for Broadwell was drawn from long established plants that fit perfectly in their Cotswolds garden.
A grand week all things considered, despite the wet stuff! Next week will be carved around a little due to the Christmas break, but I’ll be gardening intermittently and will aim, all being well, to post a journal entry if time allows. Until then, I wish you a very merry Christmas!
Bye for now, Gary.