Tuesday, 27 March 2012

March 2012

Here are some snapshots of some of the activities going on at Chastleton Garden over March 2012. March has been a busy month with lots of sun and not much rain. We undressed the Agapanthus from their fleece and bubble wrap and put them back out in their open season positions in The Forecourt - a sure sign that spring is here and summer on the way.
Having finished our three pre-season meetings for volunteers we opened to the public on 10/3/12. The lawns are being mowed and strimmed and the croquet lawns are all in good order ready for play next month. We have fed and manured the roses and put a prop under the damson in The Wilderness.
An RHS group from Pershore Horticultural College, led by John Edgeley, held an advanced pruning course in the garden on 3/3/12. Myself and volunteer John Poole attended and the day was a great success. We shared information and tips on care and development of the fruit collection in the garden, while pruning some of the apple and pear trees.
We were delighted to welcome Russell from Langley Boxwood Nursery on the 6/3/12. He came to give us some very helpful advice on the continued restoration and conservation work being done to the topiaries in the garden. We very much enjoyed meeting Russell and sharing knowledge and ideas.

Coralie, Julie, Russell and Mary.

Coralie and Mary have already made a start on getting a bit more definition and shape to the topiaries. We plan to follow a hard pruning regime and underplant with young Box plants to help bulk out the topiaries from underneath. We will also adopt a watering and feeding regime in spring and autumn.

Where the light is getting through to the stems new green growth can already be seen.

My fantastic team of volunteers and I put in the 4 new vegetable beds in The Kitchen Garden - expanding it by approx three times its size. We borrowed Hidcote's plough/rotavator and ploughed and rotavated the 4 beds. Hidcote were very kind and supportive with the loan of their machinery - many thanks all - such a help. Joe lifted the turf with a turf lifter from one of the beds and we used the turf around the garden to do running repairs. Alice, Jane C, Coralie, Julie, Joe, Karl and Jean were all a huge help in clearing, edging, turfing, etc. We continue to finish off the beds and will plant green manures in them in April and then rotavate them later in the year ready for sowing with a mixture of historically appropriate fruit and veg. The cut flower section of the existing Kitchen Garden will be expanded too.

Ploughing and rotavating the new veg beds.

Joe lifting and removing turf from one of the new veg beds.

Anna re-turfing around the garden.

Alex and Mary continued industriously with clearing the large shrubs from The Best Garden ready for re-seeding with grass.
John and Jane C and myself continue to prune and maintain the fruit trees and plants in the garden.

The expanded garden stall is all set up in the stables and being run very efficiently by Coralie with help from fellow stall volunteers. We are still looking for more volunteers to help run the stall so if anyone is interested please get in touch with Chastleton. At the moment we are selling plants and seeds and hope soon to be selling produce from the garden and a few garden tools.

We continue to clear and restore The West Garden and move the herb garden and are busy sowing seeds for veg and cut flowers in the green house for the garden. The tour guides and garden stewards are also doing great work educating the visitors and promoting the garden. We hope to have the garden exhibition up in April and ready for all visitors to enjoy.