November gave us a very gentle start to Autumn, it was in the 20′s temperature wise on our first Grand Plant Sale on the 1st of the month. We had a lovely day in the garden making people happy with plants to take home and we raised £182 in total, which has been spent on putting in new plants in the areas cleared. We still have plenty of plants that like damp conditions, pond edges, bog garden etc if anyone is creating a pond or damp border please get in touch for plants at good prices.
We have had more tree works done in our Gentleman’s Arboretum, which you walk through to get to the Walled Garden. Two trees that were definately on the move have gone, the thoroughly rotten willow behind the donations cairn and a mature self-set ash tree which was growing in the stone wall and had a very poor anchorage. Given the 70mph winds we have experienced with this latest storm I’m so glad we managed to get the work done or we may have had some holes created in the walls in the Walled Garden!
Continuing with our winter tree works I was fortunate to be donated a days labour with a chainsaw and made the most of it in the Walled Garden this time. It is with regret that we have had to say goodbye to our two Quince trees. They had a fungal disease which even DEFRA were unable to identify for us and despite undertaking the works to the trees that DEFRA recommended there was no improvement in their health and it appears to be spreading to the weaker apple trees. Not wishing to lose the heritage apple tree orchard they had to go.
The two crab apples under the Betty Davis’s memorial walnut tree were also in poor shape, primarily due to their location. Walnut trees protect themselves from competition by secreting toxins in their root systems to damage the plants around them. Crab apples are particularly susceptible to these toxins and the difference between this pair and the pair of identical trees the opposite side of the rose arch was very noticeable. We are redeveloping this bed and will replant with an ornamental tree which will tolerate the Walnut better. The Walnut itself also had a couple of lower branches removed which continually overhang the path.
Lastly the Golden Delicious? apple in the bed on the terrace had a trim, again to make the paths passable and to increase air flow and stop it creating quite so much shade in that bed. With a bit more sunlight in their we will have a much larger choice of planting for that bed.
We really need our weather to improve for a few days now so we can clear our mammoth bonfire pile!
Usually by now the putting to bed of our borders is well underway, but due to the mild weather many things have not yet died back, even the Dahlias are still flowering. This weekends projected cold spell should provide us with plenty to cut back on Monday though. I’m sure we will fill our newly emptied compost heap in a jiffy! So in preparation for this we are clearing space to mulch in the long bed running down the right hand side of the garden opposite the adventure playground. The two remaining self-set Buddleias have gone to be replaced by something that doesn’t overhang the path as much. The butterfly bushes had grown so big they had swamped all the planting that once surrounded them and left the weeds to thrive. This area should look much, better next year after a good mulching and replanting against the backdrop of our lovely stone walls.
We have added a new volunteer to our merry little band to help us keep on top of the garden better, but there is still plenty of room for more if you would like to come down and help out!
So come down and have a good old crunch through the leaves before we manage to get them swept up!