MAR/APR 2017 MUSINGSBack to the grapevine

MAR/APR 2017 MUSINGS by Maz

Gardening Volunteer at Tatton Park Walled Kitchen Garden, Knutsford, Cheshire

Hazel, Alder and Willow catkins greet the traveller towards Tatton Park; ‘bread-and-cheese’ or Hawthorn is greening up the hedgerows, primroses and daffodils line the lane and ‘bridal veil’ (Spiraea) and winter Cherry is in the pink. Magnolias in the Gardens are magnificent, and the early Rhododendrons are blooming.

Clearing up continues after Storm Doris’s rampage. Some trees it was thought would come down as they host bracket fungus didn’t, but seemingly healthy trees have.

Seed sowing for the Kitchen Garden has commenced in earnest; Leeks, Brassicas various, Broad Beans and greenhouse crops are sown in modules.

Tying in of the stone fruit on the north and east facing walls in the Orchard took three people all day, but the result is a much neater look to the fan-trained plums and cherries.

The Team spent the whole day weeding the first quarter bed in the Kitchen Garden to prepare for new Asparagus beds. The plants have been grown from the seed of existing crowns and will be potted on before planting out later this year. Trenches will be prepared in the coming weeks on the large first quarter bed, but first it will have to be dug over.

The six Marionberry ‘blackberry vines’ relocated to one of the cold frames in the Old Nursery from the Orchard have been pruned and tidied up.

Celandines, sweet Woodruff, Bluebells and Dandelions line the hedgerows with little blobs of blue sky and sunshine.

Lots of visitors enjoying the warm sunshine of the Easter holiday period.

Planting out Broad Beans was the order of the day for some of the Team. The others spent the day weeding the fan trained fruit wall beds and edging the lawns in the Orchard. One rabbit was spotted heading for the Cottage Garden, and another to the hedge bordering the Frame Yard. Hopefully the fruit trees are now old enough not to have their bark nibbled off.

After a sunny St George’s Day at the weekend, the Tuesday Team was greeted by the start of the brief “Blackthorn Winter” of cold wind and sleet but warm work top dressing the L-shaped border in Charlotte’s Garden soon brought out the sunshine.

In the Old Nursery the resident mice have staged a commando raid on the lean-to greenhouse where vegetable seed sowing takes place; they have shinned up the staging and eaten all the sweetcorn kernels which were sown the previous week.

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