Author: John Mostyn

Gardener’s Tips for April

A few hints and tips from our excellent Gardener’s for the month of April:

Things should be moving along pretty quickly now the highlight at the start of the month has to be tulips and with April’s sunshine and showers plants are growing at pace but there are a few things that you can do at the start of the month to reduce your workload later on. 

Applying a layer of mulch around trees and perennials before the warmer weather arrives not only will keep the moisture locked in but it will stop a lot of weeds from emerging saving you valuable time later on in the season that can be spent doing other important garden jobs .  

Give your plants a feed, trees shrubs and hedges will benefit from a slow release fertiliser. Roses are especially greedy plants feeding will aid flowering in June. You can buy specialist rose fertiliser but any fertiliser that contains a mix of potassium nitrogen and phosphorus will be beneficial. 

Sow any hardy annuals now in their final positions these fast growing plants are a cheap way to fill a border with colour during the summer plants such as pot marigolds, Californian poppies and cornflowers are good choices. Those annuals that are a little more tender and don’t like the cold can be sown undercover now in pots and placed out once the risk of frost has passed. 

In the vegetable garden it’s time to plant out your potatoes, early crops can be planted at the start of the month and main crops at the end of the month. Courgettes, marrows, squashes and pumpkins can now be sown individually in 5cm pots undercover and tomatoes, aubergines chillies and sweetcorn should now be sown undercover as they need a long growing season to produce their fruits. Don’t forget to thin out any seedlings that were sown in March, in order to reach their full potential plants need space as well as sunshine and showers. 

It’s a good time to completely empty any compost bins for mulching. Hibernating animals should now have woken and moved on, but still be careful as you don’t want to spear any frogs or hedgehogs with a garden fork. 

Stay safe all, and hope to see you again soon. The next Gardener’s tips will be posted at the beginning of May  CBHGT x

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Monthly Gardener’s Tips

In an effort to provide some #mondaymotivation for you, we will be posting Gardener’s tips the first Monday of each month. To catch us all up, we start with March – check back in with us on Easter Monday for tips for April!

Spring has sprung and warmer days increase garden tasks but it is also time for the cheery daffodil to take centre stage. A true herald of Spring, it is also the national flower of Wales and is often worn on St David’s Day on the 1st of March. In the garden once the daffodils have started to fade remove the developing seed heads, the plant will then put all its energy into replenishing itself rather than trying to reproduce. Also don’t cut off any leaves or tie into bunches, yes the leaves may look a little untidy but they are doing an important job in helping the bulb underground to gain valuable reserves to help with flowering next year.

It is time to cut back winter shrubs. Those plants used for their showy stems such as dogwood can be cut down to the ground to encourage new vibrant growth. A good rule of thumb is to take out a third of the oldest stems. The older stems start to lose their colour and by taking out the older stems you will always have bright newer growth waiting in the wings to take its place. 

It is a good month for planting shallots and onions. If the weather turns slightly warmer you may be able to start to plant early potatoes at the end of the month. You can check the temperature of the soil by using the back of your hand or by noticing the germination of weed seeds. If weeds are germinating then the soil must be getting warmer so hoe them off and start to plant the hardier salads such as radish and beetroot. 

Now the weather is warming up, you can start to reseed any grass areas that show signs of wear, gently scuff the surface you wish to seed and if there are hollows or dips you can add compost to the seed to even out the surface. You may find you need to mow the lawn, wait for the ground to dry out a little and raise your mower blades for the first cut, you don’t want to stress your turf at this time of year by giving it a short cut. 

Birds are nesting now and starting to have families, it’s a good idea to remove peanuts from feeders now as they can choke baby birds. If you want to feed the birds then swap the peanuts for meal worms they are a good choice as they are packed full of protein. 

Join in with the whole family and have a walk locally and see what plants are springing up. This doesn’t have to be in the wilderness – see what plants are poking out of pavements, gardens and window sills. You could always take some photos to practice drawing later on. 

We would love to see your photos! Please feel free to send and share any through to us via email marketingcbhallgardens@gmail.com, or direct via social media and we would love to feature your gardens, nature spotting and creations.

Stay safe from all of us at Castle Bromwich Historic Gardens x

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Farewell for now … The Temporary Closure of the Gardens

 Despite the best efforts of all, the Gardens will remain closed to the public until it is safe to re-open again. An eerie and strange feeling has engulfed us, with a globally collective fear of what may come; we recognise the benefit of fresh air and green space in the Gardens and the comfort and solace this brings to many of you.  With this in mind, we will keep you updated regularly in a digital sense – writing blog posts, posting to social media, suggesting activities on various topics in the coming weeks and beyond. We will tend to the Gardens in the most reduced way, maintaining what we can during this time. The Gardens team have been working flat out to plant, sow, build, chop and mow, but for now it’s tools down to keep the population safe. Here is a round up of the year so far and what’s happening now: 

We began the year with a wonderful Wassail, the Green Man joined us with hot cider and apple juice as we celebrated and wished for a bountiful apple harvest later this year. An unusually warm and sunny afternoon, with much merriment. February half-term saw the first of our planned activities in the Gardens. Spiderman and Elsa joined us for a special visit in the Orangery, Unplug and Play family activities took place in between Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis – well done to those who braved the winds. School groups came to learn all about the natural world in the Gardens and our troop of wonderful volunteers continued to work in the vegetation, help fundraise, run the cafe and ticket desk and work behind the scenes on history gathering in preparation for our planned ‘Big History’ day. We have also been looking at the future of the Gardens in its 35th anniversary year, harnessing what we can to develop and grow for many years to come. 

The Gardens have slowly been awakening in the past few weeks, the first buds and greenery have begun to appear, including the beautiful snowdrops, daffodils and just now a sprinkling of blossom. With the promise of new growth and life creeping about the walls, the plants have been reminding us that “they can’t cancel Spring!”. With wildlife also emerging, our night camera had spotted heron’s dipping for the frogs in the ponds, plenty of frogspawn bobbing in the spinney pond, foxes padding about and a couple of house cats who snuck in too.

With the recent uncertainty in the world, we have made a change to our Memberships. Those who have a current Membership, have recently renewed, or would like to take a new Membership out in the next 3 months, will receive 15 months access instead of 12 months. We will review this as we can in order to give people extended access where they may have missed out during the restrictions. 

As a charitable trust, we rely quite heavily on funding and income from visitors. If you would like to support us from home and feel that you can at this time, we would be grateful for any donations via our page on Just Giving. https://www.justgiving.com/cbh-gardens

We will leave you with this image from illustrator Charlie Mackesy – “When the big things feel out of control … focus on what you love right under your nose.”

Thank you for reading, keep safe at home and join us online again soon for more news and updates from the Gardens

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Harvest & Apple Day 2019

Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens will be hosting their Harvest and Apple day on Sunday 13th October between 12.30 – 4.30pm.

One of the most popular events in the gardens calendar, this is a day out for all the family.

Visitors can explore the historic, 10 acres 18th century restored walled gardens and enjoy several free activities and displays.

Have a go at pressing apples picked from the garden, take part in snap apple or the longest apple peel competition, visit the Orangery and discover the vegetable display.

Younger visitors can take part in apple printing, try hook for apples or listen to songs and stories performed by The Wild Man of the Woods, Britain’s widest travelled Green Man. There will also be face painting and craft activities.

Or just take a leisurely stroll, explore the Summer House, Holly Walk and Maze, a place of beauty, to breathe deeply, escape & relax.

We are encouraging local people to bring their windfalls apples for juicing, remembering to bring their own containers to take it home.

The café will be open serving hot and cold food and drinks.

Entrance to the event will be charged at adults £5, children (5 – 15 years) £1, under 5 go FREE and most of the activities are free.

Find out more by calling 0121 749 4100.

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