I mentioned at the end of the last blog that a friend of mine always records what is in flower in her garden over Christmas. She has records going back many years providing a fascinating snapshot of her garden year by year. I decided that this would be a good tradition to start here at Ashburnham too. As a team we recognise that we are only stewarding the land here for a short time and we owe it both to those that have gone before us and to those who will follow us to keep records of what we are doing, to make notes of seasonal changes and to observe and list the wildlife we share this place with – both flora and fauna. If you have read earlier blogs you will know that I am a keen photographer, so I took pictures of all the flowers that I found out during the week between Christmas and New Year (I couldn’t get round everywhere in one day!) I only covered the gardens, not the grounds. As you will see, there were a variety of beautiful flowers out.
Hamamelis – Witch Hazel in the Prayer Garden
Viburnum tinus – in the West Garden
Mahonia x media outside the Cedar Dining Room
Viburnum davidii outside the main house
Camellia in the Winter Garden
Prunus x subhirtella Autumnalis
Winter flowering cherry in the Winter Garden
Viburnum farreri in the Winter Garden
We’re now well into January and getting on with as many winter jobs as we can in between dodging showers. Jim has been pruning the apple trees in the orchard and ordering seeds ready for early sowing. Gordon has been refining the rubbish and recycling systems and having a spring clean of his workshop area as well as catching up on some time off. In the ornamental garden I have been pruning the climbing and rambling roses and tying them in along the front terrace and outside the Orangery Tea Room. It is one of my favourite jobs and very satisfying, making some sort of order out of the chaos of last year’s growth. With the help of our ACT volunteers we’ve also been potting on some herbaceous perennials and mulching the beds in the Kitchen Garden. We plan to mulch all the beds in the ornamental gardens too, as soon as the rain stops long enough for the grass to dry out a bit so we can access the beds without making too much mess.
Last week ACT hosted a gathering of ‘Friends’ these are loyal supporters of the work here and it was wonderful to be able to spend some time with ‘old’ friends as well as getting to know new ones. On Thursday afternoon I gave a talk about the gardens and grounds and led a short walk through the gardens while David and Gordon demonstrated the new recycling system and shredder to another group. It was great to update people on our work and introduce the gardens to some newcomers too. The different departments had stalls in the Great Hall for the duration of the event to let visitors know the kind of things we do. This photo shows the fun way we demonstrated the members of the team!
From left to right, Sara, Raphael, David (Facilities Manager), Jim, Masha, Jay and Gordon.