Gardener's Diary Post

December 2019

A still quiet air.



The new brick pathways have been extended by the Evening will come… sundial and further sections filled in by the Fructidor stone baskets, also in front of the wooden bench A delightful spot under chosen trees by the woodland entrance, and on around the Top pond by See Poussin. Hear Lorrain. Hopefully all of this will settle in permanently and become much less evident and interventionist than it looks at present as it ages, and as much as possible, greens over.

Every renewal brings with it more waste – and a couple of mounds of excavated earth from the path construction were dumped by the top corner of the woodland and under the laurel by the gate piers opposite the Grotto as work in progress. Rather than just conceal or remove them, these have now been  planted with ivy, ferns and foxgloves which will all quickly naturalise, forming accidental but welcome new areas of woodland planting.

The curving serpentine walkway of blackcurrants in the middle of the Parkland has been remade – 40 new bare root plants ‘Ben Hope’ have been put in place. These fresh juvenile plants should quickly fill out and improve this feature next season. The old bushes which were well past their prime have been relocated in different areas of the garden to give them a second lease of life – in the Little Wood by the old collapsed stile, and behind the curfew curlew stone to form a small blackcurrant wood – they immediately look well in these spaces, forming effective screening and blocking unintended passageways used by visitors.

A western hemlock tree has been planted near to the Flautist urn in the Parkland – positioned so that it will eventually fill out to filter the direct view through to the Pyramid in the Temple garden – its colour and form will also bring a contrasting flash of brightness to a dark gloomy spot.

In the Parkland the last leaves continue to be gathered – from around the alder by Virgil – a shaded path, and the last few stragglers elsewhere brought down by blustery winds. Around the more formal areas in the Front garden and by the Temple and store room, bulbs which are now pushing through have also been cleared of some of the more dense fallen leaves so they will flower readily in springtime.

Throughout the garden and woodland all of the more formal lawn and grassed areas have been aerated (simply by making a regular sequence of holes with a garden fork) and scarified – heavily mossed areas scrapped back so the grass has a chance to rejuvenate. Even at the moment  where parts of these areas are just compacted earth it will improve the soil structure prior to reseeding in spring. Again, one of those repetitive tasks that will hopefully show benefit and reward when things start to grow again and all fills out newly fresh and green.

An old dead tree hanging over the pathway by the Top pond which had been creaking ominously and threatening to collapse has been cut down – but the remains of its gnarly trunk form have been left as home to mosses and mushrooms which thrive there.

Also one of the willows spanning down into water by the Golden head of Apollo has been given the same attention – three large limbs are cut off – as they shift back and forward in the wind they are damaging the bank and the suspicion is that they add to the perimeter pathway here being waterlogged.

Some roses which missed out on earlier pruning are given a cut back to keep them in shape – at the bottom of the front beds by Fabre d’Eglantine, and in the woodland by the Path of Language bench.

All is tidied away and the garden is finished for the year. It rests in a still quiet air.