Our Members event and AGM yesterday was a beautiful summer’s evening. Unfortunately Denise our Head Gardener, who had planned to do spotlight tour for members, wasn’t able to make i , so here are her notes about this year so far.
This year’s main focus is on the edging as the wood had rotted away over time. We re-edged the bottom beds in wood as a straight replacement but due to the increased activity around the entrance of the site chose to use reclaimed bricks for these beds. In the Melon Ground we have chosen to edge the entirety in brick as this space will also be used more in future and a flat defined space for planting is required.
Ollys outdoor cooking shed was also built this year . TheHotel steps have had a makeover as has the fencing next to the main garden entrance gate. The Anne Kenrick Gates needed rehanging in the spring, as it had failed.
The shade tunnel had had to be re-covered due to sun light degradation The wood store also had to be re-roofed as it was letting in water.
There are new fruit trees in the orchard and we experimented with No Mow May in places.
Currently we are in hedge trimming season. Which can take up to 2 months to complete as during this time we still need to water, mow harvest and weed. All tasks that are time consuming in a garden that has been designed in this way.
Last year’s unpredictable and very changeable weather has continued into this year. Trees have been very strained and some have been lost this year too. With the massively rising costs of plants we are moving to growing on more of our own as well as moving away from so many annuals and bulbs towards perennials. The annuals and bulbs costs are currently reaching thousands of pounds.
Failing trees have been replaced with the help of both Solihull and Balfour Beatty Vinci donations. We hope to return to harvesting and juicing the apples this year, but we are unable to predict the size of the harvest… every year surprises us.
Batty Langley Kitchen Garden
We have returned to our ‘normal’ range of pre 1760 vegetables and plants in the garden this year, adding skirret, kohlrabi and some other vegetables and increased the flowers, both to encourage pollinators and for human visual pleasure. The community growing classes have taken over one or more beds this year.
Box Caterpiller moth
Unfortunately, this moth has reached us, finally. This is potentially devastating for all our many metres of box hedging.
We will be investing in both biological and natural ‘solutions’ to the problem (parasitic wasps and ‘thymol’ ) as guided by the current science… and hope.