Well it’s National Poetry day...
There really is no other choice for a poem in the Gardens today. Keats definitely had it right autumn is ‘conspiring…. to bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees’ and more.
For your delectation then: Colonel Vaughan apples (1600) and Keats’ poem To Autumn
SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Fresh as fresh as fresh… Our harvest apple celebration is fast approaching. It’s been positively Isaac-Newton-like here with apples from our heritage orchard plopping, heavy and ripe, to the ground.
This year, as well as all the lovely entertainment, displays and activities, we want to invite visitors to get some really fresh tastes from our,and their own, gardens.
You can have a go at crushing an apple and tasting the juice it makes.
Which is your favourite?
We’ll have up to 6 different varieties to choose from. We bet you have never tasted anything like it from the supermarket.
Some of this year’s harvest from our two heritage orchards has already been bottled for you to buy – stock up ready for mulled apple juice at Christmas.
Is there an apple tree in your garden or on a piece of public common land nearby?
Why not harvest some and bring along a bag to juice here? If you bring along a clean jug or plastic bottle you can take it home to drink later that day.
(don’t forget to leave some on the tree for the birds).
Underground potatoes …
Yes, its true. Potatoes grow underground, in the dark.
Don’t believe us? Come along on Sunday 16th, borrow a fork and dig up some of ours… and hey, you can even take them home and bake them for tea (£1 a large bag).
De Wit make garden tools – of consummate beauty
Two members of the amazingly talented garden toolmakers, de Wit, made a flying and unexpected visit to the Gardens today.
My, we’re all of aglitter and aglow!
Sietse and Derk-klass de Wit had just flown in to be part of the GLEE garden show at the NEC, but instead of hanging around their stall they hopped into a taxi for a quick whizz round our Gardens.
De Wit are a family firm based in the Netherlands, but their exquisite hand forged garden tools are known and revered worldwide. See their stunning site here The Garden Tool Factory. If you follow our facebook page you will see many shared photos by their brother Derk de Wit who takes the most inspiring photographs of gardens.
Dutch born Captain William Winde, cousin to the Bridgeman family, heavily influenced the design of our gardens in the late 17th century, so, Dutch style and quality is a long term companion for us.
We sell a small selection of the carbon steel and ash handled tools in our shop, they are not cheap but they do literally last a lifetime and acquire a handsome patina with use. If there is a serious gardener in your life, here is where you will find that special gift.
To top the day for me, Sietse also offered to support our volunteer gardeners by supplying them with some tools too. Our cup runneth o’er.
First visit of term for Hallmoor school pupils
We were pleased to welcome back Hallmoor school pupils today. A class of pupils comes every Friday to learn gardening skills, cultivate their patch of land and grow vegetables.
Before the summer break they had planted, hoe’d and weeded the plot….and today they saw it had all played off. A bumper crop of beans, onions and pumpkins and more to come.
Well done kids…next stop, planting the winter veg
Green is the colour of plenty.
Our vast veg plot – the Batty Langley garden – has been really well tended this year and all the hard work is paying off.
This year’s newly planted Globe Artichokes are fattening up, the Courgettes and Squashes are plump green and growing gold (could be another good Pumpkin year), the first early Potatoes are lifted and the maincrop are coming soon.
The Runner Beans and the yummy Dwarf French Beans are being harvested and will be on sale in the shop over the next couple of weeks.
The Leeks and Cabbages are coming on, but the Cardoons and Jerusalem artichokes have a way to go yet.
This year we have started planting the site with some older, period varieties and – to save our volunteers from overdoing it – concentrating on veg. that produces good ground cover… hey, we have 10 acres of weeding and trimming to do – some shortcuts are worth it!
Unfortunately the heady fragrance of the sweet peas are now finished, but I just love the multitude of tasty greenness in this area.
Make sure these lovely crops don’t go to waste; they are all affordable and super fresh from our shop – (free entry to the shop).
There is still colour and light to be found!
Keep the summer going for longer with these luscious hanging baskets. Grown and nurtured here at the Gardens.
£7 each… to clear
Our holly maze is a favourite with everyone.
Managing the convoluted pathways and prickly hedges is a constant job. With fewer gardeners over the last few years and the sad loss of some of our ‘maze- expert’ volunteers, the poor maze has looked more than a little ragged. One of our education team volunteers regularly attacks the rampant pioneer brambles, just so our school visitors can still enjoy that last ecstatic run around the mysterious maze.
This summer we’ve had a bit of a boost…Our partnership with the small charity REEP led to us hosting three international horticultural students who designed and planted up colourful beds at the centre of the maze. (See more about it in the post we wrote earlier: here ) Spurred on by their beautiful flowers we have prioritised some work on pruning the maze.
Helped initially by some young helpers – our ‘prickle persecutors’ – and, this week, by Gordon our gardener and volunteers the maze has now had a full trim. The best haircut it has had for a couple of years.
Later in the year we will trim again and pay some attention to the compacted and starving root system. By next spring, we hope to have filled gaps and brought back healthy growth all round.
Getting around the maze may still be a mystery to solve, but at least the paths will be open and clear.
4 boxes of earlies lifted by volunteers today..yum.
On sale in the shop… until they’re gone. Lovely and tasty warm or in a salad.
£1 for a (generous) colander full.
The shop and cafe are free to enter. 11 – 4pm
Great time in the sun
Our annual visit from the Rare Plant Fair this weekend was blessed with bright August sunshine as well as by a field of beautiful plants from 14 special and unusual independent nurseries.
Nearly 400 visitors took advantage of the day and good business and good fun was had by all.
Some of our favourites can be found here CastleBromwichHallGardens- photopool
A collaboration with an international charity, REEP, providing horticultural scholarship visits, means we have had a makeover in the middle of the maze.
3 young gardeners – from Spain, Morocco and UK have planted a shape based on the colours of all 3 flags. We gave them some advice on espalier pruning and they have provided a bit of a boost to the centre of one of our most popular attractions.