Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Grounds Update July 11th 2012

This grounds update could easily have been titled 'Take Cover', which would mostly describe our attitude towards the weather during the run up to Flight weekend at Compton Verney; an opening event for the new exhibition called Flight and the Artistic Imagination. The rain has on the whole been kind to us, other locations in the country having more cause for serious complaint. The days of poor light and soggy ground are however, at least from a gardening perspective - starting to get quite depressing now. Boo-hoo I cry, but I shall leave my complaining there, for now!

This time last year, in the drought, we as a team strived to keep up with the watering of new plants. Tank after tank of water was ferried out to the park to keep trees alive. The ultra slow growing, if parched grass, did at least allow us irrigation time. This year however - total reversal. Irrigation is a distant memory, all new plants have established rapidly, and what of grass growth? Well, I've never known a year like it!

OK, the above photo isn't a normal patch of grass (we aren't that far behind with mowing!) In fact it's a section of the west lawn that we grow on for wildflowers. Some of this area was sacrificed in the run up to Flight weekend, with the aim of turning it into a model aircraft runway,
however, a dry weather quick flail and rake, turned into a wet weather slog fought, ultimately, over five days (with much other work thrown in to the mix of course.) The flail made a valiant effort,
but this machine ultimately gave way to a brushcutter, which was used to effectively 'blade' the sward down tight before a thorough rake off. Below are Adam and Dick, raking away in the rain last Friday. I'm not sure about model aircraft, if it wasn't for a mature Cedar at each end, you could land a light aircraft along there!

Elsewhere the lawns are growing thick and lush, and with a clay soil, remain partly sodden and splish splash territory - especially for the welly clad younger visitors. We are resigned therefore to keep on mowing and strimming as if we're possessed - in an effort to keep up, and keep tidy. The benefits are there to be enjoyed however; lush and verdant lawns, newly established grass paths through the woodland garden, and a rest from the old concern of hosepipe bans.

Along with the runway mentioned above, I was also given the go ahead to stretch my artistic fingers and mark out, for the Flight weekend activities; a life size Merlin Spitfire on the lawn beneath the mansion. No pressure of course, apart from the camera arranged on the roof to follow proceedings! A clear lawn, scale drawing, lots of string and as many pegs as I could find preceeded a few hours of head scratching, measuring, string pulling, pegging, close strimming and finally - white line marking. It was nice to have a good excuse to bring my scale rulers out of storage for the day, and the garden design and setting out training hadn't done me any harm either - even if I haven't used it for years!

Scanning around the grounds, I'm glad to say there is plenty of colour to be seen in all the corners, and despite the low light and drizzle we've endured for much of the summer, the colour is hugely welcome and uplifting. A few photographs follow, grabbed while out and about in the grounds. Hover over each photo for a brief description:

Well, at the risk of babbling on, I guess I should finish the update. Suffice to say, that despite the challenging weather, the constant battle to keep up with grass and weed growth, and the seemingly endless list of jobs that need attention; that the gardens are looking as fabulous as ever. The gardener's favourite month of May seems to have been extended this year, with luxuriant growth continuing, and the promise of second flushes of flowering in the air already - You just have to love gardening!

One last photo that I couldn't resist posting to the blog - taken on this mornings walk into 'work'. Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

A wonderful blog Gary, I can almost smell the damp grass. Thank you.

Gardener Gary said...

Many thanks for the comment, very much appreciated.