02 May 2012 By Billy Hawkins
Donna Robinson who works at The National Trust Chartwell has been working hard with the team to ensure the plants are ready for The Scotney from our National Trust greenhouse collection which will be on show at MA9.
It has been fascinating following the progress of Donna and the team after initial plans were made at the start of the year. By the end of January, sowing had already begun of the seeds which would appear as small plants at the show. Whilst there were still planting decisions to be made, the Chartwell team took the bull by the horns and decided to get on with it, adopting a good brownie guide motto of “being prepared.”
They sensibly decided to get ahead with the tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, parsley and basil as they needed mature and hopefully flowering and fruiting plants by 22nd May. Fortunately, with a very useful heat lamp they have managed to steer through the odd climatic weather conditions and have been successful in encouraging the first flowers on a number of plants. As Donna says,
“One of the main challenges has been to get the plants tall enough, to create a variety of height on the stand. We are relying on the tomatoes, peppers and aubergines for that and given that in the UK we don’t really have a long enough season for them, we decided to use the heat lamp quite early on. It has been plugged in for the last two months 24/7 and we have noticed a notable improvement.”
Donna’s main triumph has been with red basil which is usually quite problematic but has responded to light well. This plant will contribute well to the Bright/Dark contrast being sought in the way the plantings are laid out. Naturally the other benefit will be the delicious scents as we brush by. I’m looking forward to seeing The Scotney planting, intuitive planting schemes punctuated with colour from sweet peas sound delightful.
Well done Donna, and all her team at NT Chartwell. We really could not have managed without you!
The Scotney will be displayed in the colour woodsage although a wider range of colours are available. Click here for more details.
Throughout August (11am-4pm) you can visit NT Chartwell's "Dig for Victory". Normal admission fee applies. You can visit their family food patch in the Kitchen Garden and get your hands dirty helping plant, grow and learn about how important growing your own food was in Churchill’s time.
For more information on Chartwell's events click here.