18 Apr 2014

Awakening.

Another amazingly busy week to report at the Holkham walled garden.

This week we have been focusing mainly on potting up thousands of bedding plants that are destined for our events room, these include Lavender, Dahlia, Petunia, Cosmos and Pelargoniums.  Once the plants have grown on we have a small army of school children coming to help plant them, the designer for the bedding plan is the lucky winner of a design competition we set these school kids earlier in the year.  Pictures will follow.

We have been blessed with wonderful weather again this week, which has really let the plants do the talking, so without too much more to say ill let pictures speak a thousand words.

 
Intriguing Melianthus major, in flower which is rather unusual for this time of year.

 
 Lovely Ceonothus Sp. alive with the buzz of adoring bees from our apiary.
 
 
The meadow outside the walled garden is full of Cowslips, the Latin name Primula veris loosely translates to "First Flower".

 
 The almost blinding Euphobia polychroma "Sonnegold".

 
The garlic is rocketing on in the veg patch and will one day no doubt help flavour a dish for the family.
 
 
 
The first few Parsnip seedlings are racing away at their stations, the winner gets to stay when thinning time arrives.
 
This week also saw the installation of our new interpretation boards that help guide the visitors through our garden, these excellent sources of information were expertly framed by two of our skilled volunteers using estate sourced oak.  If you like them please let us know in our visitor comments book or the comments section below.
 
Many of our cut flower seedlings have germinated and are pushing up thier infant seed leaves to the nurturing light.  In the vegetable section we have germination of our giant Marrows sowed just last week as well as Okra and Aspargus pea.
 
Should you visit us this Easter weekend, we hope you enjoy the walled gardens and the Easter games we have provided for children.



12 Apr 2014

Life back in the garden.

 During the winter months we close to the public which mean the gardens can be a very quiet place.  This week however has been completely different, the gardens are now full of the sound of birdsong, feet walking through the newly gravelled pathways and the occasional chirp of child laughter which is a welcome sign that the kids are on Easter break.  Having visitors back in the garden after its winter slumber is great, the conversations and enquiries regarding "how many gardeners are there" and "what plant is that" are just a few of the many questions we enjoy to field as we go about our work. 
 
Our "Grow your own sunflower" bench has been very popular with children who have been able to plant their very own giant sunflower seed in a pot to take home with them to grow.
 
 
 
The favourable early season has seen our plants grow on much early than expected, in our perennial garden room we are seeing not only good strong plants pushing up from their dormant subterranean boltholes, but even flower buds forming on such as the Geums and Delphiniums.  With this in mind our focus is very much on weeding and mulching our beds which the help of our invaluable volunteers. 
 
Our cut flower room hosts not only our stunning Camellias and Azalea which are in full flower at the moment but ranks of perennial plants just pushing through and starting out on thier journey to the florist's bench in the hall.
 
Other life is evident in the garden too, the heat from our walls and gravel pathways provide excellent thermals for birds of prey and often on a sunny day you can look up to see a brace of Red Kites and also Buzzards wheeling around looking for lunch. 
 
 Life in some unexpected places too, while manuring the veg plot this week i noticed this fascinating fungi, a bit of googling leads me to believe this is the wonderfully named "Egg Head Mottlegill", although I'm happy to be corrected.
 
Future life in the garden is also very much in our minds at the moment.  Our amazing glasshouses are currently bursting at the seams with seedlings, plantlets and seed trays.  The eager wait for the last frost date is palpable and when it does arrive we will no doubt see a mass exodus from the sanctuary of the glass into the gardens to provide flower and vegetables for the coming season.
 
The last job of the week saw some of the giant vegetables sown in pots in our heated propagation box.  Below you can see giant Pumpkins and giant Marrows which will hopefully provide a little excitement in the veg patch along with the giant Onions, Leeks, Sunflower, Cabbages and Cauliflowers. 
 
Fingers crossed! 
 
 

3 Apr 2014

Spring has sprung.

A new visitor season at the Walled garden brings with it a new growing season, everywhere you look it seems buds are breaking and offering excitement at what is yet to come.  As the Pears and Plums blossom we are also treated to early Ribes flowers and the fragrant Edgeworthia although this is only an appetiser they certainly set the tone.  Sadly our Magnolia, Cornus and Chimonanthus are all but done flowering but this allows our focus to turn to the perennial flowers that we planted last year, these are now coming along strong and relentlessly pushing up through the thick layer of mulch we are currently treating them to. Thank you volunteers for your help with this and everything else you do.

Growing vegetables is also part of our job in the walled garden and although it is still early in the season we have Potato, Garlic, early Peas, Beans, Onions and Shallots all coming along .  Inside the glasshouses we are carefully nurturing seedlings that will be planted out after the last frost both in the vegetable patch and the cut flower garden. These include Tomato, Brassica, Capsicums, Leeks, Sweet Peas, Sunflowers and Geraniums. Ultimately both the vegetables and flowers will supply the Hall and the Victoria.

The walled gardens are a very popular haunt for our feathered friends, the constant birdsong is a delight only surpassed by the occasional glimpse of the many species of bird we are privileged to share the grounds with, these include.  Goldfinch, Wagtail, Robins, Blue Tits, Chaffinch, Wren and i even saw a Goldcrest just last week.

The opening week has been blessed with some great weather, long may it continue.





2 Apr 2014

As we re-open for 2014


The vineyeard has taken shape and now that we are open again there's a chance to see the valuable work that has been carried our over the winter months.We are open every day until the end of October 10am-5pm.

 

22 Jan 2014

Starting the new Vineyard

The new vineyard section has been started by using some cleaved posts sourced from the estate.

 
 

21 Nov 2013

Help in the walled garden

Today we have got some of the management from the estate to help us with weeding ready for winter. Also it's our volunteer day.
 

10 Oct 2013

Sowing holm oak acorns

Even at home I can't get enough of gardening.  I have sown them in crates about 2 inches deep and about 1 inch apart from each other. These will stay in the crate until a year next April when they will be potted up. I have them in my cold frame.

Picking holm oak acorns

Yesterday I was joined by Mike Glover (MD) Barcham Trees helping and showing me what to look for. Thanks to him we should have some holm oak seedlings come up in the spring. Many thanks

18 Sep 2013

Pruning roses

Large scale pruning of roses. This is happening as we're getting ready for the new soft fruit garden which is next to the vegetable garden.


 

16 Sep 2013

Muscat Grapes





The first two bunches of muscat desert grapes have been picked. They have the most wonderful smell plus taste fantastic.