The Intro… I’m a professional gardener/horticulturist and post weekly to record my gardening experiences and activity. My main workplace is in Broadwell, Gloucestershire, and this journal is independent – content does not represent views of my employer or any organisation.
This week’s garden journal covers another very full and physical week in the garden at Broadwell, and I thought I’d start by adding a new and simple summary feature from here onwards to help me track the range of tasks that are being carried out on a daily basis.
In summary: Monday – Ordering supplies, backfilling trial pits, and gravel filling a raised bed. Tuesday – Completing hedge trimming, removing sticks from lawns and first ‘proper’ mowing of main lawns. Wednesday – Conifer hedge cleanup, and first attempt to clean-up lawn edge around pond with help from Alex and Mary. Thursday – Relocating delivery of 2 tons of topsoil and compost, (from roadside – the lorry couldn’t make it through the gate…) and preparing a raised bed for planting. Friday – Chris, Anne and Jill joined me for a thorough tidy of south border (previously cut material,) with bonfire to clear dry debris.
Looking to the above image, I’m taken swiftly back to last Sunday on a visit to a local garden when a drift of crocus captured my attention. Potentially ‘Creme Beauty’, their flowers were intensified by a mustard coloured centre and a vivid, pumpkin orange stigma – exquisitely simple.
My next image below is from Wednesday’s pond edge clearance, with an aim to curb the growth that is marching steadily into the lawn. Alex and Mary thankfully joined me, and continued in the rain, and together we cut woody stems hard back and tightly trimmed other vegetation. I was particularly happy to get my very effective scythe back in action!
The pond is completely contrived and an aesthetic feature, yet it’s clear that wildlife has come to depend on it – indeed the coots and geese were quite vocal about us disturbing their peace! Naturally there is a balance to be found between this as a wildlife resource and garden feature, but I’m certain this will continue to thrive and tick both boxes more effectively as we move forward.
Looking up, literally, is a quick view to remind me that the boxes should have been up already, ideally before February is out – better late than never as people say! This box was very kindly made and donated by Alwyn Knapton who dropped in recently to compile a first bird list for me at Broadwell – a stellar individual and wildlife champion personified.
Next up, I can’t help but introduce the ‘Sunshine Crew’, for on Friday they arrived with a special offer of a day’s volunteer work – and how grateful I was! You’re looking at a south facing border that has been heavily ‘pruned’ around a month ago, with the tangled, dried up debris having been left to dry as much as possible before a bonfire could clear the way. (I already have a large compost stack of decaying woody material elsewhere!)
The work is part of a longer term renovation of this border. Having identified key plants for retention, and having moved a couple of shrubs to new locations, this is another phase of ground preparation before the ground is ready for new introductions over the coming months. More to come from this little spot for sure!
Below I just had to feature another of the gorgeous Chionodoxa flowers, known commonly as glory-of-the-snow. They’ve clearly very happy in the conditions on offer in this Cotswolds garden as they’ve seeded themselves here, there and seemingly everywhere – such a none-delicate beauty!
In my final image for this week, I have the sun setting over the distant hill, after a very productive week at Broadwell. Even for just that day, it finally felt like spring had arrived.
Wider afield gardeners are sowing seeds for a productive year, and like me they’re full of hope for the winter chills to be gone and for another vibrant growing year ahead. Social media channels are packed with gardening productivity and creation from balconies, allotments and back yards, to grand gardens and estates. For me they all have something in common – they each have someone taking care of the garden, someone growing, someone nurturing life in a special place.
There may be some serious challenges coming our way from the wider world, but I think you’ll know what I mean when I say that being in the garden is likely to take each of us to a special place; a place for finding balance, for re-focusing and for restoration. I sincerely hope you’re able to find your special place through a garden, however great or small. Until next week…. Have a good one. Gary