Tuesday, 23 July 2013

NGS Day July 2013

We're always lucky with the weather on NGS Day but, to quote a popular phrase, it certainly was a scorcher this year! We shared the opening with Prue Leith's garden in the village so it was a busy day in Chastleton with visitors going between the two gardens.

Jane, our part-time gardener, and the garden volunteers had all worked really hard to make sure the garden was looking at its best in the days leading up to the event.

The Kitchen Garden

The Best Garden

There was lots going on in the garden - with garden tours, croquet, and a chance to find about Chastleton wildlife; and the plant and produce stalls proved popular amongst visitors.

Jane C by the produce and plant stalls

We took it in turns to man the gate to the garden - luckily a parasol provided some shade!

 Alex and Mary

 Dawn and Julie

The croquet team played all afternoon:

Sallie's table was laid out with leaflets and she talked to visitors about what wildlife they'd seen in the garden:

We took it in turns to sit in the shade in the Kitchen Garden but also tried to carry on gardening despite the heat!

 Julie having a rest in a shady spot but Jane H carries on gardening!

 Straight lines and wigwams in the Kitchen Garden

There were places to cool down though in the Wilderness Garden.

Foxgloves and lilies looking beautiful in the sunshine:

Jean was kept busy in the Brewhouse with drinks and her lovely homemade cakes.

 This must have been a popular cake! Only crumbs left...

 Despite the heat, the volunteers kept on with the topiary cutting schedule.

 Mary, Roger, and Alex mean business!

Alex and Mary

All in all, a successful and enjoyable day and a good sum raised for the NGS charities.

Julie Charlesworth
All photos by John Hackston

Friday, 21 June 2013

In the Garden in June

Clematis in the Kitchen Garden

It's been a busy couple of months in the garden - the changeable weather delayed planting but the combination of sunshine and showers has certainly encouraged the weeds! We can however celebrate finishing the last of the digging and main weeding of the new beds in the Kitchen Garden. We have also just about caught up with all the planting and we're pleased with how it's all growing now. Unfortunately, our peach trees are not so happy and we're treating them for canker and peach leaf curl.

We said goodbye to Anna, our Gardener, in May - we had a small party for her in the Brewhouse with many of the volunteers and wished her luck for her new job.

Party for Anna

We have a new gardener starting with us in August but in the meantime Jane and the volunteers are doing a fantastic job keeping the garden looking good.

Most of the main planting of veg and cut flowers has now been done - just the artichokes to go out at a later date. Putting up the brassica net turned into a major team event!

Brassica nets - very important for protection from butterflies!

The Wisteria in the Forecourt was a little late blooming but is now delighting visitors with its scent. The Deutzia is also now putting on a fine show. Diane, a new garden tour guide started in June and here she is standing under the Wisteria:

Diane, our new garden tour and room guide

Our bees have not been very happy lately so we may need to think about putting up some netting near the hives to detract them from buzzing around the croquet lawns. One hive decided to swarm the other day and it formed an amazing shape just near the hives and right next to the 'don't approach the bee hives' sign! Seb, our House Steward, was brave enough to take the photo...

Bees hanging around in the garden in a strange sock or fish shape... (photo courtesy of Seb)

Julie, Garden Volunteer Co-ordinator

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

March at Chastleton Garden 2013.

Another busy and challenging month at Chastleton Garden. The weather is still resisting warming up for spring and we had a good fall of snow in the garden again just before Easter. Even so myself, Jane (our assistant gardener) and the volunteers have been working hard.

Irene and Richard have been helping the other volunteers and me to dig over the first new veg bed in The Kitchen Garden and plan strawberries and rhubarb.

Alice busy digging and weeding.

Jean and Julie planting the strawberries.

John and Robin came in to run the RHS Pershore College advanced fruit pruning course this month at Chastleton. Even though it was heavy showers a good day was had by all.

 We have our plant sales out on the cart by the reception area.

The second early and main crop potatoes are chitting before planting. 
Easter weekend was busy in the garden. Julie Ogley helped with the garden trail and garden tours. 

 The spring plants continue to struggle with the cold and the snow.
Matthew West fitting a lovely hand rail for our steps in The Best Garden. 
The topiary has started to put on new growth despite the cold.

The finished bed in The Kitchen Garden - planted with strawberries and rhubarb.

The poor lawns are struggling in the weather and with visitor footfall.

The new cold frames are finished and in place in The West Garden.

So we have been busily sowing seeds in the green house and pricking out seedlings ready for planting vegetables and cut flowers in the Kitchen Garden. We have also been : mowing, strimming, weeding, edging, mulching, feeding and pruning roses and fruit trees. 

This is my last blog entry for Chastleton Garden as I am leaving the gardener post on 4th May 2013 to go to another job. I have very much enjoyed my time working in a beautiful historic garden with a fab team of staff and volunteers. I would like to thank everyone very much for their support and enthusiasm in the garden and at the property and all those I worked with while in post. 

I wish the new gardener and all those involved with the garden the very best for the future.
Regards, Anna Derrett - Gardener Chastleton House - March 2010 to May 2013.

Monday, 11 March 2013

February 2013

February in the garden saw a whole mix of jobs and weather. In bitterly cold weather and sometimes snow we were spreading gravel, cutting back ivy and building leaf litter bins- as just some of the tasks. The weather ranged from wet, windy, cold and frosty to the occassional winter sun day.

The property was blanketed in snow once again at the beginning of the month.

We ran our fisrt ever snowdrop open days for the public on 14th, 15th and 16th Feb with lots of enthusiastic visitors. Seb and Dawn from the staff are pictured here with the snowdrops.
The snowdrops are later in flowering this year and have put on a fabulous display well in to March. We had BBC 1 Oxford regional news in to do a peice on the weather and spring flowers in the garden on Friday 15th Feb.
Visitors enjoyed garden tours and the array of different species and varieties of snowdrops in the garden.

The volunteers all helped out with welcoming visitors, preparing the garden and handing out our spring flower hunt to those looking at the garden.
Other early spring flowers brought colour to the garden, including winter aconites and Cyclamen coum.

Jean and Sallie did a wonderful job making cakes to sell to vistors alongside hot drinks.

Elsewhere Katy and Ella worked hard with their mum harvesting hazel to use as supports for fruit, veg and flowers in the garden. They also helped cut back some of the ivy on the walls in the garden and weeded.

We have run a small trial on tackling the weeds in The Kitchen Garden: we have covered one area, hand weeded some areas and sprayed off other areas with a weed killer.

We have also had contractors in to do hard landscaping and path repairs. A lot of work has been done to improve drainage on the property.
My team worked really hard moving leaf litter compost and building a new holding area. Thanks all.
Other jobs done during the month included:
-planning engagement activities in the garden
-insulating the greenhouse and setting up the heating and heated bench systems
-clearing and tidying in The Wilderness and car park
-tour guide training
-pruning wisteria and roses
-interviewing and recruiting a part-time seasonal garden assistant
-inducting and recruiting new volunteers
-ivy pruning
-seed sowing
-gravel spreading
-NT spring flower count
-knocking snow off topiaries and shrubs
-preparing new Kitchen beds
-garden tours
-sweeping and weeding steps
-planning projects
-arranging a rail for steps in The Best Garden and 3 new benches
-chitting potatoes
-mulching borders
-spraying weeds