A Prehistoric arrival in August

A Prehistoric arrival in August

August has been another busy month for us, and I think we are starting to see the first signs of autumn creeping into the trees with hints of yellow and orange appearing, especially in the big Beech around the estate. Even though this is the case, there is still plenty to see in the gardens with lots of late colour in the Herbaceous Borders and Seven Sisters where late flowering perennials such as Rudbeckia, Verbena and Eupatorium are putting on a great show.

We recently took delivery of our newest sculpture, which we commissioned from the very talented metal sculptor, Nigel Connell Bass. It is a Pteranodon (a larger version of a Pterodactyl) named big Terry, who is now to be found swooping over our Fern Garden. It really suits the prehistoric feel of the tree ferns, and he definitely looks at home. Our sculpture trail is an annual event here, and this year we have nearly 70 unique pieces placed through various areas of the gardens. There are some old favourites and some brand-new additions, some are well hidden and waiting to be discovered so a little exploration often rewards. With such a range of styles and artists there is certainly something for everyone and it’s well worth a visit just to view them.

Our apple crop is reasonably good this year, which is a relief as it’s been a tough year for fruit and growth overall. I hope to repeat last year’s cider production, which was a great success. We will also be producing our usual organic apple juice, as well as ice cream, jams, honey and various seasonal products from the fruit and vegetables we grow in our walled kitchen garden. There’s lots of jobs still to do. We have been cutting back our old raspberry and loganberry canes and tying in the new ones for next year’s crop. We have dug up the last of the potatoes. Lifted shallots, garlic and onions and planted out brassicas and leeks. Now is the time to sow spinach, winter lettuce and rocket to take you through to the autumn.

We are seeing more extreme weather, and long periods of drought followed by periods of heavy rain does not suit a lot of our plants. Even some of our established trees are showing signs of stress, and we are doing our best to help them with the addition of more watering points and mulching around the trees with composted bark to help retain moisture. That said, the gardens have performed well under the stressful conditions, and we have seen many of our newly planted areas put on good growth. It’s good to see some young plants starting to stretch out and fill their beds.

It’s the time of year for pruning hedges, mulching beds, and general tidying up as the plants start to fade. I enjoy the transition into autumn and like to take time to reflect on the gardens and how they have performed before making plans for future developments. A garden never rests and continues to evolve and grow over time. I believe that is what makes it such an interesting place to work and to visit. Hopefully we will see some of you here soon. Adam