18 February 2013 By Andy Lewis
This is a great time of year, days are starting to stretch out and our plant propagation gathers apace.
Assistant Gardener Jasper has shown keen interest in our vegetable plot and has been rewarded with the opportunity to take charge of this area; he’s made some great progress over this last week, preparing the ground for a new season.
It’s a modest space; historically the vegetable garden would have been sited in the walled garden. This is positioned to the east of the South Meadow, it’s still visible but not part of the Estate managed by the National Trust.
We’ll soon be getting some crops underway under glass by using the glasshouse space at Alitex HQ, Torberry. It’s such a pleasure to extend the range of plants we are able to grow here. By taking cuttings we can breathe new life into plants that are running out of steam.
Many plants like Lavandula (Lavender) or Rosmarinus (Rosemary) really need to be replaced every three - four years. They’re used to poor soil and need to be grown ‘lean’ and ‘hard’ so no replenishing of the soil is required otherwise they will put their energy into vegetative growth rather than flower production.
This brings me rather neatly to another reason why the use of a glasshouse will be hugely beneficial this year. We’ll be growing additional flowers for our Grand Tour Flowers’ event. Between 7-11 July you’ll be able to view floral arrangements made by local community groups in specially selected locations around the house. If you belong to a local group and would like to have a go at flower arranging e-mail me on email@example.com for more information, there will be guidance available on the day if you’re a complete novice! It’s not a competition, really just an opportunity for us to share our space with you and for you to show us your creative streak.
A cautionary note, as the warmer days creep up on us, we notice the need to take off a layer when working in the garden but as soon as the sun sets, we quickly need to put that layer back on: plants are no different - don’t be too hasty in removing protective fleece on tender items.