Colour Changes

07 October 2019

Autumn has arrived and with it the leaves are now falling. Walking around this morning looking at the list of jobs for next week, it’s a joy to see the colours changing and the landscape we have seen for the Summer change to a new one. It’s not all doom and gloom, it’s a new view to enjoy and with it brings new challenges and tasks. Although growth has significantly slowed down, we still have daytime temperatures keeping things ticking over slightly. It is always a busy period of the season with our lists of tasks growing daily with little jobs and not so little jobs. A major task completed yesterday was the cutting down of the meadow areas on East drive, Orchard and South border.

As mentioned in last month’s blog we have had insightful and helpful soil test results which are helping us understand our practices and, where needed, changing them to get the result we desire. The result will be better soil health, which in turn will produce better growing conditions and therefore better plants and happy plants and that is what we should always be aiming to produce. I have been looking at the newest meadow areas closest to East Lodge which will be managed differently to reduce the vigorous growth of some weeds and clumping grasses. A possible cut during the season and sowing some of our own harvested Yellow Rattle will reduce this issue.

Our project on East lodge has resulted in an instant mature look to the garden and the lawn has received its first cut and roll with a light topdressing of compost to keep the moisture in. It is important to give the lawn the best fighting chance of being rotted in and healthy before the frosts and hopefully no snow will arrive. Be aware that feeding it too much will result in lush growth which is lovely to look at but is weak and susceptible to disease attack especially in these dewy mornings. As mentioned before like everything, plants need food, air and water. Once the turf has taken hold and you can no longer peel it away from the ground try to give it a gentle aerating – this will help to create holes and areas for the new roots to go into and find moisture deep within the soil.

Lesley has done a great job of weeding and sowing the green manure into the beds on the middle terrace. This will reduce the workload on these areas until planting has been finalised. We will be planting smaller plants to add a bit of interest to these areas which we have begun to grow on. Lesley has also been starting to divide such plants as our wonderful Agapanthus for future use in filling in areas and new planting schemes. There is still plenty to do but we will wait for another couple of weeks for cutting back and further dividing where needed.

This week has seen us plan for the policy tree planting phase 2. we went on a detailed walk of the policies to look at what is required for this winters work. We will be looking at the existing roundels and replacements of whips where needed to fill in gaps and plants that did not take. The main task is to plant up the North strip and roundels in the Cow ‘n’ Angle. These are large areas which will enhance the landscape and woodland areas. These will be planted up with mix of beech, lime, oaks, walnut, sweet chestnut to name a few. These areas will be under-planted with filling in planting such as holly, hawthorn and smaller specimens to create a dense wood that can be thinned as required in future years. We look forward to this task as it is very satisfying to know we are creating something that future generations will enjoy and a diverse habitat for wildlife.

Looking to the months ahead we will be looking at getting a large order completed for the policy tree plantings which will be one of the major tasks for the Winter. I have recently met with Angus our talented metal genius who will be making the outstanding metal edging for the middle terrace pathways which will also be getting installed this Winter.

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