Monday, 3 September 2012

August 2012 at Chastleton

A very hectic month. Not only were we coping with the wild, wet and windy weather forced on us by the Jet Stream, we were also busy with film crews, a Clutton-Brock family wedding and all the holiday visitors to the property.
In the garden we have been manically mowing, edging and strimming to keep on top of all the lush grass growth and weeds - thanks to the warm, wet weather. Other jobs include:
-selling plants and produce to visitors
-garden tours
-sorting and planting in cold frames
-harvesting fruit and veg
-watering and feeding pots and plants in green house
-The croquet club held an in-house tournament
-Hidcote volunteers came to play Chastleton volunteers at croquet
-Dead heading
-clearing and tidying borders
-catching moles
-hedge cutting
-topiary pruning
-cutting back ivy
-spraying weeds with round-up on gravel areas
-reducing the size of very overgrown Mock Orange shrubs
-grass seed sowing
-the West Garden project
-topiary seminar given for garden volunteers by Anna and Julie (this will be rolled out to the public next year)
-Bee keeping workshops with our bee keeper
-picking cut flowers
-croquet engagement with visitors
-weeding and feeding croquet lawns
-summer pruning fruit trees and tying in
-cutting of the wild flower meadow under the orchard
-maintenance of the wormery.
The roses have taken on a last blush of flower and leaf and are looking good again before the autumn is completely upon us.
Our lovely rabbit topiary. Our topiary is going through a period of conservation and restoration. After years of being cut by machine it was loosing definition. So the plan is to get a bit of definition of shape into some of the topiaries, while keeping their cloud like shape. We have gone back to traditional methods of cutting with shears. Years of neglect means we are working hard to improve their health by feeding and clipping twice a year - they are already reaping the benefits and greening up on even the oldest wood. 
Our green manure in the Kitchen Garden has finally beaten the battle with most of the weeds and come in to flower and looks very pretty. Red Clover.
Alex and Mary helping me tackle some very overgrown Mock Orange shrubs.

The pumpkins are coming on a treat.
A good onion crop.
We sell plants and produce to our visitors.

The sweet peas look and smell fantastic.
Cosmos and Dahlias - my favs.
Ruth (one of our fab flower arranger volunteers) busy picking to decorate the house.

The peaches have been struggling to ripen in the wet weather and low light levels - we have managed to harvest a moderate crop for sale.
We have just cut down the wild flower meadow under the orchard.

We are preparing for Apple Day at the end of Sept, but it is a poor year for top fruit due to a late frost and poor pollination after wet and windy weather.  However it will still be a brilliant day on Sept 29th with lots going on for everyone. Do come and join us celebrate all the fruit on the property.
Thank you again to my hard working and loyal group of volunteers - much appreciated. Anna

BBC Countryfile at Chastleton Garden

Very excitingly we had BBC Countryfile come and film in the house and garden at Chastleton in August 2012. The programme aired on 2/9/2012 at 7.30pm and is now available on iplayer for the next 7 days. We had a good day with Helen Skelton and Matt Baker and the friendly and helpful crew. John Poole and myself were both seen on screen promoting the garden. The weather was a bit variable. Filming the sections on fruit and topiary in the morning were very wet and blustery, but by the filming of the croquet in the afternoon and evening the sun was out. Thanks John - you were great! Anna.
John chatting to Helen about peaches.

Matt and Helen learning the art of croquet.
The brown marks on the croquet lawns are where I have just treated the 2 fairy rings that appeared at the end of last year and continue to make a statement on the lawns!!
It has been a battle with the weeds on the fine turf lawns this year - I have just completed the autumn weed and feed programme. 

West Garden Project Continues.

The West Garden project continues.The area is now graveled and the brick cold frames are in place. The posts for the fencing are in place and the gate with the badger door is in place at the bottom of the cobbled path. Over the next few months we plan to get the chain for the fence in place, one of the volunteers is going to build the covers for the cold frames and paint the new picket fence. The graveled areas will house potting tables for engagement with visitors with seed sowing and potting on in the spring and work with school groups. The plant sales will also move to the West Garden next year. This area will continue to be developed into a working area - which links back to this area of the garden's historical roots and uses.
Pickett fence under construction

Cold Frames being built.

Garden fence posts going in. 

Cold frames under construction.

The finished cold frames awaiting their new covers.

The lovely iron gate made by Matthew West and generously donated by Cynthia (a previous volunteer at Chastleton who loves the garden). The opening at the bottom is to allow the badgers to come and go on the same route they have used for centuries. 
A huge thank you to all the great work from Keith, Kenny, Martin and Matthew.