Wednesday, 25 April 2012

April at Chastleton 2012

So far April has been a busy month in the garden. This week we seem to have gone from drought to heavy rain and the garden is now feeling delighted with the watering, but also a bit soggy in places.

We have been busy sowing seed for vegetables and cut flowers in the green house and pricking out and potting on seedlings ready for planting out over the next couple of months and for sales in our plant shop. Jean and Jane C and Ann have been a big help with pricking out seedlings.

Jane C sowing seeds.

We have been continuing our renovation of the West Garden and have now finished cutting back one side of the very overgrown Yew hedges and will go on to feed them. We have halved the height of the Hornbeam hedge in the Brewhouse court in The West garden and have transfered the herb garden to The Kitchen Garden. Watch this space as our work continues in this area of the garden to change it into a more functional, open and working area.
Moving the herb garden to The Kitchen Garden.

Our volunteer garden tour guides, garden stewards and the volunteers manning the plants and produce stall have all been doing great work and we look forward to launching our garden exhibition in the next few weeks. Chris and Patty continue to be a great help maintaining and propagating the house plants in the mansion.
John, Jane and Mary have been busy elevating the angle of the pear espalier branches in The Best Garden to increase vigour. They have been pruning some of the stone-fruit trees and hand pollinating the peach trees. The peach tree cover has now been taken down. 
We have finished preparing the four new vegetable beds and have sown the seed of the green manure (Red Clover), which will add nutrients to the soil and be good for pollinating insects.

John helping with pollination of peach trees.

The green manure will be ploughed in later on this year. The beds will then be ready for fruit and vegetable planting early next year. We are also busy sowing seed directly into the vegetable beds, this includes: parsnip, radish, carrot and beetroot. Joe planted out our chitted maincrop potatoes as well.

Here are some of the interesting finds from when we put the new veg beds into The Kitchen Garden. Our archaeologist will assess them in more detail in due course.

Alex and Mary and Coralie have been doing great work with the topiaries. We continue to cut them back hard and give them a bit more definition. They have had their spring feed and are starting to put on some nice new growth.

Alex, Mary and Coralie pruning the topiary.

Alex and Mary have worked hard to help put the woven hazel supports up in the herbaceous, perennial borders in The Kitchen Garden which are used for cut flowers.

Alex and Mary weaving hazel supports for the herbaceous borders.

Kenny and Terry are here from the buildings team doing a fantastic job of repairing the back dry stone wall of the garden by The Wilderness. This is great as the wall has been in serious disrepair for years and will hopefully help stop the deer entering the garden.

We continue with the day to day maintenance jobs for the garden: weeding, hoeing, edging, mowing, strimming, pruning, harvesting rhubarb, etc.

Many thanks to all the volunteers for all their contributions and support this month, as always.