The first school holiday of the year and a bit or sun and freshening air makes for lively kids, eager for a run around. As usual we have a week packed full of things to do and places to explore.
Running round the maze will keep them warm, there are still beautiful snowdrops to discover, lanterns and pom-pom twigs to decorate your spaces, apple birdfeeders to hang up.. and of course there are seeds to plant and take home to watch grow.
Every day an extra craft and loads of spaces, nooks and magic views for young ones to explore time and again.
We’ll be posting the date for our own pruning of fruit espaliers courses shortly, but it’s pruning on a much bigger scale that our gardeners will need to be tackling this coming year.
Last year, both of our two heirloom orchards got a much needed trim and we’re hoping to see much bigger yields as a result. We did lose one or two trees this year, but there are others nearly ready to replace them.
There’s a bit of a battle looming. The Holly perimeter hedge has not had much attention over the last five years and has grown to 3 times the intended height and breadth. It is now seriously overshadowing the Apple and Pear trees in the ‘New Orchard’.
We’ll need to radically trim back this year if we are to expect our magnificent blossoms to shine again. If you are able to help us (there is nearly half a kilometre of hedge so, we’re tackling it bit by bit).. … keep checking back here for callouts.
There really is no other choice for a poem in the Gardens today. Keats definitely had it right autumn is ‘conspiring…. to bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees’ and more.
For your delectation then: Colonel Vaughan apples (1600) and Keats’ poem To Autumn
SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Fresh as fresh as fresh… Our harvest apple celebration is fast approaching. It’s been positively Isaac-Newton-like here with apples from our heritage orchard plopping, heavy and ripe, to the ground.
This year, as well as all the lovely entertainment, displays and activities, we want to invite visitors to get some really fresh tastes from our,and their own, gardens.
You can have a go at crushing an apple and tasting the juice it makes.
Which is your favourite?
We’ll have up to 6 different varieties to choose from. We bet you have never tasted anything like it from the supermarket.
Some of this year’s harvest from our two heritage orchards has already been bottled for you to buy – stock up ready for mulled apple juice at Christmas.
Is there an apple tree in your garden or on a piece of public common land nearby?
Why not harvest some and bring along a bag to juice here? If you bring along a clean jug or plastic bottle you can take it home to drink later that day.
(don’t forget to leave some on the tree for the birds).
Underground potatoes …
Yes, its true. Potatoes grow underground, in the dark.
Don’t believe us? Come along on Sunday 16th, borrow a fork and dig up some of ours… and hey, you can even take them home and bake them for tea (£1 a large bag).
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