Monday, 30 June 2014

Garden Visiting In June - Part Two

This post follows on from Part One of our visit to Golden Acre Park's gardens. It was rather a long post, so rather than squeeze in any more photos, I thought I'd group together the photos I took of some of the beautiful flowers we saw and make another post. I hope you enjoy them.


I can thoroughly recommend a day out to Golden Acre Park if you're in the area. As well as the gardens, there's the beautiful park with a lakeside walk and wildflower meadow. There's woodland and a fabulous tea room. Across the road from the park are two nature reserves. Dogs are allowed in the gardens providing they're kept on a lead.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Garden Visiting In June - Part One

I've left my garden visit for June right till the last minute, it's been rather a hectic month what with one thing or another. Anyway, I thought I'd visit the gardens at Temple Newsam, a regular haunt of ours, but the road leading to it was closed when we got there. It turns out that the Race For Life was being held there today, so we had to think of an alternative garden to visit. In the end, we opted for the gardens at Golden Acre Park, and I'm so pleased we did.

We visit Golden Acre Park quite regularly as it's a lovely place for Archie to have a run in beautiful surroundings, but I have to say that we haven't really ever visited some parts of the gardens. We've walked round the beds set out in the park, but never taken the time to check out other areas, and we've been missing a treat.

This is the Bakehouse Border which is inspired by borders at Powys Castle. The key plants are Canna, Salvia, Penstemon, Aster and Helenium.

Golden Acre Park opened as a theme park in the 1930's and a miniature railway circled the whole of the lake travelling a distance of just over a mile. A small section of the railway was recreated in 2003 and the area has been planted in a naturalistic way, using cultivated grasses and perennials to give the impression of an abandoned railway line.

There are three national collections held at Golden Acre Park, Lilac, Hosta and Hemerocallis. They're displayed in a beautiful garden.

Some of the hostas are magnificent specimens, they're quite large.

Unfortunately, the slugs have been at some of them, yet others seem to have escaped unscathed.

The hemerocallis seem to be just getting going. A few were in flower but others only had buds waiting to open.

I love this tree trunk with a rose growing up it. Such a pretty feature.

Standard fuchsias with bedding plants potted up in containers makes this building more attractive.

A place we haven't explored before is the Blenheim Couryard.

As we walked through the entrance, there was a collection of pots housing lots of different plants.

In one of the borders to the side of the entrance was this salvia - Hot Lips. I used to have this plant myself but lost it one winter, it doesn't like the cold, or perhaps it's the wet it isn't so keen on.

In another of the borders is this rock garden.

On the upper level is a greenhouse, I wondered what it housed as there were plants trying to escape through the windows. I love that lavender border.

Inside the greenhouse is a kind of tropical display with a waterfall.

The fish were popping up for their breakfast, they were just being fed while we were there.

The water lily was just starting to bloom, I bet it will be stunning.

Another area we've never visited before is the Trial and Display Garden (a former trial site for Gardening Which?). There's all manner of planting styles here, a potager, containers and hanging baskets, wildflower, prairie and tropical style displays and the Dahlia and Chrysanthemum National Societies each have display plots within.

A beautiful hanging basket display, I haven't seen such a display before.

I'm not sure whether these were chilli or sweet pepper plants inside the greenhouse, but they were beginning to flower.

I loved this little seating area with a green roof.

A good crop of gooseberries. No sawfly here.

The National Chrysanthemum Society display plot. There's not much to see yet as the plants aren't in flower.

Each plant is carefully labelled.

The bottom half of this greenhouse houses tomatoes. There's plenty of fruit on the plants already.

The other half of the greenhouse is home to pelargoniums.

I love the idea of a stepover apple tree. A great way to grow fruit trees if there's lack of space or if an allotment site doesn't allow trees.

As we came out of the Trial and Display Garden, we came to this Limestone Rock Garden. It's the main outdoor display area for Golden Acre Park's large collection of alpines.

This is a Limestone Rockery. It's been built from water worn limestone and has been in Golden Acre Park for many years.

I had a wonderful time looking around these gardens today. I can't believe how many times we've visited this park in the past, yet never seen some of these areas before today, I'll be going back to explore them again soon.

Pop back tomorrow for Part Two of my visit.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

In Disguise

Two years ago, I bought a gooseberry bush from our local nursery. It was labelled as Pax, a red, thornless variety. It was late in the season so I kept it in its container until the following year when it got planted out at our old plot. When we realised we were moving sites, we dug it up and popped it back in to a container so that we could plant it at the new plot once we'd moved. Needless to say, it didn't crop at all last year.

We still haven't got round to planting it out, it's still sitting in its container in the garden, however, it's tried to fruit, there's two or three gooseberries on the plant. From what I can see, the fruit is green, not red as we were expecting, so I'm not sure if it's been labelled incorrectly or if the fruit is in disguise and will change colour as it matures. Also, it certainly isn't thornless. Perhaps thornless just means less thorns than other varieties, I don't know.

A couple of weeks ago, Mick noticed that every leaf on one of the branches had totally disappeared. He doesn't know very much about pests and diseases, and even though I've never grown gooseberries before and don't know much about them at all, I had heard of Gooseberry Sawfly. I can't stand critters of any description so I asked Mick to check the plant and sure enough, he found about half a dozen little caterpillars methodically eating their way through the leaves. It looks like he got to them just in time as since then, there's been no further damage. This pest can attack red and white currants as well as gooseberries and they can strip a bush of its leaves in no time at all.

We've got a gooseberry bush which had been left on the plot when we took it over and that looks to be cropping well, so I shall be looking for things to make with them as it's something I'm not familiar with at all.

My blueberries look as though they're going to give a decent crop this year. I didn't think they had many flowers earlier on in the year, but I can't have looked close enough as there seems to be lots of fruit.

I'm just waiting for them to ripen now and then blueberry muffins and blueberry pancakes will be on the menu. Yum yum.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

I Should Have Waited

I don't have very much patience. As soon as I saw other people harvesting their potatoes, I wanted to harvest mine too. What's nicer than that first harvest of home grown potatoes?

The first containers I planted up this year was on the 16th of March. They were started off in the greenhouse as the weather was so wet around this time, but unfortunately, they didn't seem to want to get going and it took them some time to sprout any foliage. These are a first early, Arran Pilot and as you can see, they never really recovered and I've even seen slugs clinging to the greenery.

I plant these buckets with three seed potatoes. These were the haulms I removed before emptying out the container, not very much to show at all.

Lack of foliage meant that I hadn't raised my expectations. Just as well as this was the total haul, just 85 grams.

They weren't going to feed us so I decided to empty another container. This one is Anya, a second early. It had a little more foliage, but there was still lots of bare soil where I'd expect to see more.

There were lots more potatoes in this second container than the first one, but they were very small. I don't think you can guage just how small they are in the photo, but in total they weighed 100 grams. I should have left this container as I'm sure they'd have increased in size had they had more time to grow.

I decided to empty one more container. Back to the Arran Pilot's again, this one was planted up on the 6th of April. I could already tell that the foliage was much better so I hoped that the yield would be better too.

Still not a huge haul, but weighing 410 grams, it was better than the previous two.

There were enough to go with our roast pork dinner last night and I can report that they were delicious. Those little ones were just the right size to pop straight in the mouth.

Now that I've satisfied my craving, I shall let the rest of the containers grow on before emptying any more out.

The strawberry harvest is going well though, there's plenty to pick on each visit to the plot and they taste scrummy.

Just in time for Wimbledon. (Only joking, I'm not a fan).
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