What crazy weather we are having! After a long and dry summer in 2011, when grass growth slowed enough to help us get on with other jobs, such as watering the new tree planting, it has swung in the other direction this season - being so wet we can hardly keep up with the growth rate. The warmth is there for sure, in fact it's been quite humid, but again this aids the growth rate, keeping us on our toes. The positives are there to be seen however, with lovely lush foliage and healthy growth throughout the grounds; the new plantings especially have settled in really nicely.
Time to wander through the grounds with a decent camera is always at a premium at this time of year, and photographs, those on this post included, are most often grabbed on my mobile whilst passing - please forgive those that are less than great! There are so many instances when I want to seize the moment with an image: an insect; a perfect bloom; shimmering reflections under the arch of a bridge - so many I could do with a camera hanging permanently around my neck. I'm so lucky, if a little frustrated, to be able to work in such a beautiful environment where photo opportunities come along often - at least to me! Anyhow, here are a few snaps with something of an update
|Adopt a Tree at Compton Verney|
Painterly skies reach from ridge to ridge at Compton Verney, and on this day the sun beams down on the lush East Park meadow. Now enjoying its second year with a mown path, the park remains a haven for flora and fauna, and allows visitors a peaceful circular walk where seldom seen views to the mansion can be enjoyed, and where the scale of the designed landscape can be really appreciated. Unsurprisingly, I have little time out there, but when the opportunity arises, the insect buzz amongst the sward is very special and worth the effort. The flowers shine out from sward as though they've been sprinkled like confetti, and the butterflies flutter-by from grassy blades to brassy flowers. The meadow will remain lush for a couple more weeks yet, so if you are visiting do take a trip around the meadow, it is well worth the effort.
As the banks between the ice house coppice and the lake receive closer attention this year, to raise their manicured quality, some other areas such as the bank below the east park for example, have ever so slightly ran away with themselves. Nothing we can't conquer of course, but for now, the trimmed banks we enjoyed last year are sporting a tufty look!
The ice house itself continues to mellow and the extra trees interplanted amongst the mature Yews are establishing well. These additional trees are to retain a kind of 'cloak' around the house, which has been important for guiding bats to the house itself. The bats are once again visiting, but not roosting within the house, and the hatches are therefore proving their worth. Droppings are appearing on the catch sheeting in the base of the house, and after a few teething problems last year, the new lighting switch helps illuminate the ice pit.
Over on the West Lawn, the increased wildflower area continues to treat us with a succession of blooms, but for a while now, a nearby shrubbery vies for attention. Functioning as an evergreen shrubbery, with a majority planting of Prunus lusitanica (Portugal Laurel,) the usually calm green planting presently sports a mass of white, heavily scented blooms, which I thought worth recording for a change. Not generally given much spotlight, they are an impressive addition and shelter belt to the all important 'back' lawn.
A recent informal pruning may have helped, but whatever the trigger, they are amazing in their fluffyness and worthy of a toast or two. My last photo was snapped over at the childrens play area, and being but a few millimetres long, could be easily missed. On this day however, whilst checking through the play equipment I spotted a number of these ladybird larvae on the woodwork, enjoying the sunshine. Who would think they could change from this fearsome insect to such a beautiful one, and indeed be so beneficial to our gardens.
The season is flying by already, although having passed the longest day, it will be a while yet before we really start to see the shorter days. There's plenty to fill our days however, which is good, and there'
s much I want to achieve yet during this summer season before I can face the autumn. We'll be hedgecutting around the gardens before long, fighting to keep the grass under control, and spinning a number of plates to keep the show on track - I'll also be dabbling with a little grounds art next week, but you'll have to visit over flight weekend (7th-8th July) to see if it works or not! I hope you are all enjoying your gardening this year, and also finding the time to visit others for inspiration. If rolling parkland, shaded walks and lakes grab your attention, then why not pay us a visit? (Grounds tours featuring yours truly are 1pm on the first Thursday in the month - free to members and visitors!)
Enjoy your gardening!