Garden Journal 11.4.21

Well it has been quite a full month since I last posted to my garden journal, after taking a break for a while to take stock. I’m back now though and keen as ever to resume the weekly posting of my horticultural happenings to this journal, which is part of my Gardening Ways blog.

I suppose then that I’ve four weeks of shenanigans to account for, but whilst I’ve scanned back across the weeks and selected some memory jogging images, I’ll spare you from the general daily going’s on. Instead, and from my chosen picture, I’m going to skip across the month all spring lamb-like, if you can picture that!

Sulgrave Gardening

In my last journal entry I was still harping on about the “ongoing pruning” in the heritage orchard at Sulgrave Manor, which I’m glad to say is now all complete. In fact it’s more than complete, as some of the volunteers have thankfully returned to the fold, coming to my aid with a very thorough clean up of cut material – I had stacked it nicely of course!

Amongst the branches of an apple tree in a heritage orchard Up amongst the branches…

In addition to completing the orchard, which is now resplendent with thousands of daffodils and a few fritillary splashes here and there, attention has now turned to the remaining compartments throughout the gardens. We’ve been busy mowing and edging, sowing and watering, weeding and weeding some more. At the point of writing this we have two very busy days ahead before I can be happy that we’re good enough to open with confidence – first day of the season is this coming Wednesday to pre-booked visitors of course. (Link at bottom of page).

Garden Blogging

Aside from my main work though, and with the now finished situation of flexi-furlough, (fingers crossed!) came the opportunity for some ‘me-time’. Well, when I think back I can only remember one specific day to myself, as the vast majority of furlough days were taken up with home schooling, but that day resulted in my only other blog article of late called My Sensory Garden, which seemed to go down quite well.

A Helping Hand

Standing in the garden beside a hori hori garden toolWe’ll get by, with a little help from our hori hori

Further to this day of relative leisure, was some help I gave to a friend who needed a little extra help with their gardens. I know, it was something of a busman’s holiday, but it helped me to keep my hand in and genuinely gave me some great insight into caring for a more modern style of garden that I don’t presently get to experience. Let me just say that I’ve seen my fair share of deciduous grass clipping for this year, thank you!

Out and About

Other days over the last month included some much needed strolls around local gardens; and what absolute treats they all offered. Some of my nearest and dearest included Charlecote Park which has been visited often being but five minutes away, along with Kenilworth Castle and most recently Hidcote Manor Garden.

Charlecote Park

Tree trunks in parkland settingTreasured trees at Charlecote Park

Charlecote presently allows visits mostly to the parkland only, but, if you know Charlecote you’ll understand that the park is pretty special in its own right. An eighteenth century masterpiece by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, formal Victorian improvements, incredible veteran trees, grazing fallow deer and the River Avon flowing strongly through – what’s not to like. I’ve enjoyed a couple of very fresh and refreshing walks around there of late.

Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle – now that’s a stunning location again, and for so many reasons. I could wax lyrical about the structures alone as they literally seep history and secrets from every nook and cranny, indeed every artistically carved graffiti name across the castle walls only adds to the intrigue. In terms of my somewhat selfish reasons for visiting though, it is to the reconstructed Elizabethan garden that I always head to charge my historic garden batteries every time – and this worked perfectly yet again with sunshine lighting up everything from the marble Atlas Fountain and tiered topiary, to the rose covered trellis and pear blossom in the nearby orchard. The visit started my Easter break on a real high!

Image of the Elizabethan garden at Kenilworth Castle Kenilworth’s Elizabethan Garden Playground

Hidcote Manor

Moving straight through to last Monday, the obligatory Easter trail this year drew us to Hidcote Manor Garden. Now, and again as for the previous venue, I have to say that I’m more than a little smitten with this garden, having visited for the first time as a newbie Trust gardener over twenty years ago. Back then I was taken with the story of its creation by Major Lawrence Johnston, and the ongoing story of the garden’s care by gardeners who I know and admire, and still I’m in absolute awe when I know a visit is booked in.
Hidcote Manor Garden Pillar GardenPillar Garden under restoration at Hidcote Manor Garden

In my most recent visit, even allowing for involvement in the Easter trail activity, I was treated to an array of floral treats from the most magnificent of Magnolia trees, laden with pink blooms the size of grapefruits, to a beautiful variety of Pasque flower, that I now discover possesses a name derived from the Hebrew word for Passover – “pasakh”, the time at which this plant generally flowers.

Pasqueflower Pasqueflower

All-in-all, the last few weeks have been a real trial, mentally, emotionally and physically – probably the toughest I can remember. But, it’s also been a month packed with some very special moments. I’ve been introduced to some fascinating people, have enjoyed sublime moments in some fantastic gardens, and have been laying the foundations for some exciting developments in my gardening journey. What a crazy month it’s been!

Many thanks then for returning to read my journal after my unplanned absence, I look forward to returning next week, albeit with a less travelled and shorter but hopefully equally interesting trot through my week in gardening. I hope you’re also enjoying the spring that is unfolding before us, whilst taking time to see, listen and experience its brilliant detail. Until next time…

Info for visiting Sulgrave Manor

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