Thursday, 26 January 2012

Geophysical assessment in the new Kitchen Garden Area

Gary Marshall, our regional archeologist for the Trust, visited Chastleton yesturday and worked with the garden team to do a geophysical assessment and discuss the area that will be dug for the expansion plan for The Kitchen Garden. Due to the ancient and historic nature of the property we usually ask Gary to advise and assess on any projects planned that will affect the fabric of the house, garden or estate. Following Gary's advice we plan to do a couple of small test pits in the area too. By getting Gary's advise we try to ensure that no important archaeology is damaged and that any new finds can be recorded. Gary hopes to visit again once the new beds have been dug to see if there are any important finds. We await the geophys results for the new Kitchen Garden area with interest and hope to go on and geophys the rest of the garden in due course.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

January 2012 - Happy New Year.

Happy New Year to all our blog visitors. January brought us a mix of mild weather with stormy, strong winds and the occasional hard frost. We have already got an excellent display of snowdrops and all our spring bulbs are well on the way to coming up.

The New Year heralds some exciting plans for work to be done to expand The Kitchen Garden and restore and conserve The West Garden, Best Garden and Wilderness. We have already made a start on the new beds in the Kitchen Garden and uncovering a cobbled path in the West Garden.

Anna measuring and marking out the 4 new vegetable and cut flower beds for The Kitchen Garden. This will double the size of The Kitchen Garden

Jean helping uncover the late 1800s/early 1900s cobbled path from the Richardsons' era in The West Garden. Having started to cut back the inside of the very wide Yew hedges, the path is much wider than we expected and is in suprisingly good condition. We have found little pieces of coal where the coalman gained access to the back door up this path during Barbara Clutton-Brock's time at the house.

Alex and Mary continuing to mattock out and clear large shrubs from The Best Garden. This area will be re-seeded with grass.

Mary continues to help us clear the dead from the Box topiaries in The Best Garden. This is an ongoing programme of restoration to improve the health and shape of the Box. We have a topiary expert coming to advise on restoration and conservation of the historic topiaries in early March this year.

Joe, Coralie and Jane C continue to help clear The Wilderness.

We have uncovered an apple and damson tree in The Wilderness - still very much alive, just smothered by the undergrowth. Although they have been rather compressed and are leaning at interesting angles we hope they will flourish now they have been uncovered. We plan to clear the area around them and sow with grass and spring bulbs.

For those of you interested in what goes on in a National Trust garden over the winter, here are some of the other jobs we’ve tackled this month in the garden:
-clearing leaves
-continuing to remove large, overgrown shrubs from The Best Garden and move roses
-checking the grounds for storm damage: we had a couple of tree casualties
-servicing machinery
-finishing spreading manure in The Kitchen Garden
-sorting seeds for The Kitchen Garden
-pruning and tying in roses
-winter pruning the Wisteria and shrubs in the Forecourt
-continuing to clear The Wilderness
-winter pruning pears and cutting down autumn raspberries
-cutting back ivy
-starting to cut back the very wide Yew hedges in The West Garden
-coppicing hazel for use as supports in the garden
-tidying and cleaning the green house ready for the new year to come
-getting the badger setts in the garden assessed by an expert from the local Badger Trust voluntary group
-helping to move to our new offices in The Hayloft
-working on the garden exhibition
-reviewing the guide book for the property with Nicola
-reviewing the garden guide, tour guides and garden talks,
-Anna giving external evening talks on the garden to local gardening clubs
-reviewing and improving our volunteer systems across the property
-recruiting new volunteers
- Anna running propagation training for volunteers
- planning the expansion for the garden stall
- finalising the Conservation Garden Management Plan and presenting the Plan to volunteers
- developing a schedule of works and rotas for the garden for the next few months