Gardener's Diary Post

February 2017

Mild Clear Days and Renovations.

‘Repairs of artworks are ongoing and many of the restored pieces have now been completed awaiting collection and reinstallation.

The main job this month though has been the jet wash cleaning of the brick and stone paths and patio areas – which is made more difficult by our familiar water source problems – silting, freezing and airlocks – once it is running again it is just a question of working through all these areas in the Front and Temple gardens and into the woodlands.

There is a decision process of what areas or level of moss to leave and what to clear away. Not a random choice but decided by the positioning of works and practicality for ease of passage.

The greenhouses too have been cleaned out and left prepared for coming season – all is spic and span.

Continuing renovations in the front garden mean preparation and planting of new trees – by the Appledore bench a few new apple trees – James Grieve, Howgate Wonder, Bloody Ploughman. And in the Roman garden all the old cypress has been removed and replaced with yews which will grow into a fine formal hedge enclosure.

By the front entrance also in the car parking area, a few plantings of greengage, weeping birch and others will in time edge this area in pleasant dappled shade and add to the western wind break.

The grass in the English Parkland has been cleared as much as possible of late fallen leaves, twigs and branches. Another bonfire awaits.

For the most part now we have enjoyed mild clear days – then a spate of storms – we have not seen the last of the snow and frost. But in the bright sunshine snowdrops dominate – filling the ground like tom pieces of fallen cloud.

Here are the first signs of spring – flights of returning oystercatchers swoop overhead, and in the ponds the repetitive throaty burblings of the frogs mating chorus.’

George Gilliland, February 2017