Garden Journal 19.9.20

I was honoured to be asked by Project Officer Victoria Thompson to join an expert panel for a Gardeners’ Question Time styled discussion in support of a worthy project to reinvigorate Scarborough’s South Cliff Gardens. It’s a National Lottery Heritage Funded project and the video is timed perfectly for the annual Heritage Open Days celebration.

Being a fairly regular GQT listener, I’m always in awe at how the panelists seem to draw on their encyclopaedic knowledge week in week out. The idea therefore that I could be anywhere near as informative or entertaining as a gardening celebrity was very far from my mind. Still, it was a yes from me and on the given night I made myself as comfortable as could be and recalled as much useful information as I could for the zoom discussion.

Earplugs so I didn’t have to listen to myself! 😂

The results? Well, I’ll let you be the judge of that, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, especially for the fact that it gave opportunity to promote and talk about heritage gardens, a subject that is very dear to myself and many other people besides. Incidentally, I also learned that I need to up my game in the presentation and zoom backdrop stakes!

On a serious note though, I was delighted to have played even a small part in the discussion that was essentially created to raise awareness in the South Cliff Gardens project itself. If you can therefore give the footage a look and a thumbs up that would be really helpful for the team in sunny Scarborough, and if you could share the videos, that would be amazing! (Links at bottom of page) 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

Productive Days
Moving onto working days at Broadwell, it has been a pretty full on two weeks I have to say. The weather has settled and but for a few hot and humid days, has offered some near perfect conditions for working in the garden. In fact, if you follow me on Instagram I do post to stories most days using the hashtag inthegarden .

Onions freshly lifted a placed in sun to dry
Onions Up…

Activity speaking, I’ve trudged through a host of tasks but hedges have continued to feature greatly over the last fortnight. A touch of light trimming here, some renovation or re-shaping there with lots of ladder work, lopping and hauling was to be expected. Broadwell now has all its hedges back under control and set for the winter I’m glad to say, and my ‘flights of stairs’ tally on my walking app has reached new heights thanks to repeatedly climbing the ladder to reach the lofty hedge tops!

Brighter conditions have also meant that the ground has dried out somewhat, and this became quickly evident last week when weeding through the raised beds in the kitchen garden. Irrigation has therefore become the order of each the day with many crops still growing actively and producing fruits and flowers. Harvest wise, it felt good to lift a good crop of onions and garlic for drying this week, and clearing out a full bed of potatoes as I went. Fruit too – lots of apples and pears were just ripe for picking.

Boxes of freshly harvested apples and pears
Apples and pears aplenty…

Working Highlights:
In terms of tasks and work activity over the last two weeks, a summary:
Mondays – Completed adding topsoil to new herb beds (numerous bulk bags); Cleaned Auricula theatre, watered and fed; Potato harvesting; Weeding KG raised beds; Irrigation.
Tuesdays – Hedge work; Fruit picking; Weeding KG beds; Weeding; Potting up container plants.
Wednesdays – Irrigation; Mowing; Trimmer cleaning; Hedge work.
Thursdays – Hedge trimming; Dahlia dead-heading; Poplar sucker removal; Dead-wood removal from Lime; Ivy cutting back on house; Mowing.
Fridays – Mole heaps; mowing; Irrigation..

Just needed longer arms…

Another Garden Door Opens
I guess my final thoughts this week should focus on my news, that I am soon to move on from my Broadwell Manor position as my horticultural journey draws me north of the county borders. At the time of leaving I will have ploughed through a very intensive ten months at Broadwell where I’ve enjoyed getting involved in the early stages of the garden’s revival.

Starting as I did in mid November 2019, it was no surprise to pick up the reigns after autumn had done its worst, and as winter was beginning to take hold. Leaves clothed the lawns and driveways, borders needed a good deal of attention and a task list seemingly grew by the minute. It was a tall order, and I knew it. Still, bulbs arrived, areas needed sorting out, and plans were being made to transform a kitchen garden – all was, and is, fascinating.

The Garden Gaffer… Woodapuss.

However, whilst I’ve loved the time spent working solo and being part of the bustling kitchen garden revival, I have gradually realised that I actually miss the buzz of a bigger team, and dare I say it – visitors! The ability to bounce ideas off colleagues, being part of an active network, tours, project or activity planning; it turns out that those things do actually keep me motivated, engaged and moving forward.

Obviously I’ve considered the change very carefully, and needless to say I’ve given full commitment to my gardening at Broadwell, indeed I don’t know any other way. But, when an opportunity arose out of nowhere that looked to be more closely aligned with my skills, I felt obliged to entertain it and, before I could utter the words Metasequoia glyptostroboides, another exciting garden door opened that I just have to step through.

I still have commitments and a great deal of love for Broadwell, how could I not have. It’s been a very rewarding and intense period of time that will always stay with me. A gardener invests so much of themselves into any garden that the two often become indelibly linked, but knowing how these things go, a new gardener will soon grasp this opportunity, will make it their own, and my muscle busting efforts will fade into this years compost – I’m glad I created the journal now to remind me of the journey!

Next week I’ll take the opportunity to look both back and forward, but until then, have a great week, and if you haven’t already – do connect with me on Twitter, and look up my #inthegarden stories on Instagram!

South Cliff Gardens Video GQT 1South Cliff Gardens GQT pt2

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