Hello and thanks for taking a few moments to drop by and read my garden journal. This post covers National Gardening Week, Heritage Open Days, Sulgrave Manor, and a short update about my own plot at home – honestly I don’t seem to have had a spare moment – but it’s all been about gardens so I haven’t minded a bit!
Oh, and you presently find me writing outside in my garden, moving my little table around every once in a while to stay in the warmth of the sun – long may it last today!
I’m presently writing at the end of a pretty active and thought provoking National Gardening Week, which I’m glad to say encourages people to get their dose of green or ‘Vitamin G’. It wasn’t without a buzz of joy when I heard of this year’s theme for the week and the opportunity it presented to extol the virtues of gardens and gardening for wellbeing.
Hello and thanks for dropping in on my garden journal. This week I’ve my own update on Sulgrave Manor Gardening, an important Peat Free April message plus a little Home Gardening for the sarnie filling.
Sulgrave Manor Gardening
Writing in my garden journal last week I talked about the pre-opening rush that the garden team and I were going through to make sure all was looking good for the opening day on Wednesday. If you’re a gardener you’ll likely be very familiar with the thoughts and feelings that are very present in the run up to the big day.
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!
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!
In addition to completing the orchard, which is now resplendent with thousands of daffodils and a few Continue reading →
I’ve arrived at garden journal time this weekend perplexed as to how the week has flown by, although as always, it doesn’t take me long to work it out, what with switching between homeschooling and working. Seriously though, despite some full days it does seem to have been another week of maximum effort, modest achievement.
What I can say is that it’s been another fully and engaging week of work in my field of ‘gardening’. It’s seen me up and down ladders whilst pruning in a heritage orchard, arranging servicing for machinery and contacting volunteers, and there was even a little COSHH thrown in for good measure.
There was a session of mulching ornamental borders, sowing seeds and moving some heavy ornamental pots. Pruning tools were cleaned, sharpened and oiled, and a good deal of my present book was thoroughly enjoyed – The Tulip, by Anna Pavord. Last but not least, there was another fascinating webinar with the discerning historic landscape expert John Phibbs.
And just like that it’s journal time, and as for last Sunday’s entry the weather has again brought huge change to my gardening week. It’s as if Mother Nature popped in on Thursday, waved a magic wand and said “let there be sunshine!”
It really does feel like spring has sprung if I’m honest but, (and there’s always a but) from a gardening perspective I wouldn’t get too used to these temperatures for they may very well be short lived. I’m certainly not wanting to pour water on these beautiful days though as they are so welcome, if only to prove to me that the growing season is actually happening – so I may just have to crawl out from under my rock and get used to it!
It’s journal time for me and as I think through my week in the garden, I have to say that winter does seem to be fading away. Temperatures have risen, frozen solid ground has turned to the consistent dampness we’re more accustomed to and most importantly – there are green shoots most everywhere I look.
I speak though with a touch of hesitation, for whilst I’ve enjoyed twelve degrees of February warmth whilst walking and working this week, I really know that from a gardening perspective there’s a long way yet to go – at least I hope there is, as I have much winter work yet to do!
Traditionally though I often do tend to shy away from the vigour that emerging plants show, from the swelling buds on trees and the flowers that revel in winter light. Don’t misunderstand me, I do love to tune into the colour and vibrancy that occurs just now, but in the same breath I sense, almost mourn, the loss of a season which offers a more subtle kind of beauty – equalling that of any other season to my mind.
My journal is a day late this week following an enjoyable family focussed weekend – but what a week it’s been. Counting the days, I was relieved to have made it through to the close of Thursday when I could high-five myself for surviving another part week of home schooling – Friday of course being another normal work day, or at least what passes for normal these days.
My working week in gardening terms was a fairly swift one and was largely spent up ladders in a rather chilly orchard. Aside from this I do actually have to give thanks for the home schooling, which for a change ticked my creative box when we were tasked with the creation of a Haiku poem about winter – quite a treat to my mind!
After heading out for a short jog around the frost covered houses to thoroughly immerse ourselves in winter, we settled down to an all too swift session to warm up whilst playing with words. Our results in the task were pretty simple to be honest but it did create opportunity to spend time thinking and writing about nature – something that itself can’t be underrated just now, and I have to say I’ve become a little obsessed with the concept since!
Well, I’m sure you’ll agree that I have much to learn but for me, Haiku seems to offer a really creative way of capturing moments and atmospheres in nature, in time and in the garden; something I’m looking to record or practise in new ways – new ways to me at least. Forgive me for adding two this week within my images; I do hope they haven’t strayed too far off the traditional Haiku path!
Week five into my 2021 Gardening Ways journal and even though we’re seeing wintry pictures from around Britain it seems like we’re picking up pace towards spring – and it’s never been more eagerly awaited. I do say this with a hint of restraint however, as whilst day length continues to draw out, the ever fluctuating temperatures will continue to tease and excite us one moment, only to nip us in the bud the next. It’s best to take things steady, to enjoy the moment and not to get too far ahead of ourselves.
Focussing on the here and now for a moment, all seems calm and steady in my home garden. Tasks remain thin on the ground but included, over two sessions some much needed path cleaning – oh the delights of an algae-loving north facing garden! This was mostly a case of scrubbing with soapy water which brought out the honey colouring a treat. Otherwise, a good sort through my containers was in order and these were rearranged with soon-to-flower pots brought to the fore so that we can watch their progress daily from the kitchen windows.
Something that lifted my winter spirits earlier in the week was a handful of Iris reticulata flowers that opened with an intensity presently lacking elsewhere in the garden, apart from a Viburnum x bodnantense maybe that is peppered with clusters of sweet scented pink flowers.
I was reminded after a quick look in my ‘Plant Names Simplified’ book that the Iris name is of Greek origin, it reads: “Iris, a rainbow, presumably in reference to the many colours of the flowers”. Their flowers are varied too, not just across the cultivars but on each flower itself – a deep blue, almost violet colour contrasted with a flash of bright yellow – they may be small but they’re certainly not going to be overlooked!
Well there goes week four and after a brief walk out this afternoon, January is pretty much done and dusted. (And on the whole – good riddance to it!) I must admit that I had worked three paragraphs into this journal post before I realised, just in time, that I was spiralling into a cracked and bottomless pot of despair. To that end I deleted said words after getting them out of my system, and for the next few minutes I’m promising my usually positive post about my week in gardening.
This week has moved from a beautiful and not too deep covering of snow on Monday, through grey washed out days with enough sunshine between to keep the spirits up. The underlying issue, if there has to be one has been the quantity of rain, which has been frequent and persistent. As a result of said rain the ground all around is at full capacity, and beds and borders are too wet to touch.