Sunday, June 24, 2012

Boxes, birds, beans and borage

This week I've returned to one of the first jobs I carried out when I started at Snowshill a year ago - box hedge cutting! From catching a tan earlier this week to then chopping away at the hedge in heavy downpours, the weather has certainly been unpredictable. Still, best to look on the bright side - box cuts better when wet. And yes, I can't help starting my blog with a weather comment; I'm English and a gardener so would you expect otherwise?

Since my last blog's mention of the Blackcap in the orchard, we've had a number of unexpected visitors in the garden including a woodpecker (which I often hear but not actually flew a metre or so by me!), a duck laying by the pond in Wolf's Cove, frogs and new fish in both ponds.

We're nearly on top with the planting now - Orlaya and Borage went in the herb border today and extra pots (inc. also White Foxgloves and Monardas) are selling well on the trolley. I harvested the first of the Broad Beans yesterday which were snapped up quickly by visitors and the restaurant will be using the next picking for their menu next week.

This rain has meant the garden is looking so lush (irises, poppies and cardoons all towering above me)...unfortunately the wind hasn't helped which has meant that plants are needing additional support. I have to catch myself sometimes here at Snowshill, as it feels like I am Alice exploring the gardens in Wonderland rather than an NT gardener.

Until next month, here's some photos of how the garden's looking today...

The subtle scent of Hesperis matronalis (Sweet Rocket) is abundant throughout the garden at the moment

Our boss 'Tinker' is clearly keeping us all in check in the greenhouse

Our 'No Dig' bed is starting to come to life with Spring Onions and three varieties of lettuce doing well (I planted the Spring Onion round the edge in hope that the scent may deter slugs...any ideas?)

Volunteers Mike and Cliff have done a fantastic job with the veg garden

Had to join the queue of visitors who were busy taking pictures of the Long Border this afternoon

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The wild sides of Snowshill

Ah, the delights of the unpredictable English weather! We've replaced our sun hats for waterproofs and made a quick dash to plant up summer bedding in between down pours. In keeping with Charles Wade's love of blues and purples, today we've been planting Perovskias, Agastache, Phlox, Clematis and Lavenders in the Manor wall border. This should provide a brilliant backdrop to the house later this summer (and they'll be pictures to show for it).
 Around five years ago, wildflowers were introduced in the main orchard to attract benefical wildlife into the garden. With the daffodils and cow slip now over, the orchard is now blooming with Yellow Rattle, Night Flowering Catchfly, Red Campions and Early Spotted Orchids - with Ox-eye Daisies and Geraniums to flower soon. 
Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor)

Red Campion (Silene dioica)

Night Flowering Flycatcher (Silene noctiflora)

To top it off, we've also spotted a Black Cap which Linda, who's been Gardener-in-Charge here at Snowshill for 23 years, has never seen or heard in the garden until yesterday...and it was a new sight for me too! The bird's made an epic journey from South Africa and makes a sound like two pebbles hitting together (which I witnessed today). If, like myself, you thought a Black Cap was a type of mushroom, here's a picture below to clear up any confusion.

Black Cap