Tag: garden

Blossom picnics – Birmingham’s own Hanami

Spend the day under the blossom trees in the heritage orchards of the Historic Gardens.
With apple and pear blossoms instead of the traditional Japanese plum, this version of Hanami still echoes the tradition of enjoying the beauty of the flowers this Spring.
A picnic in the Gardens is always enjoyable, however, the orchards in full bloom also provide the perfect setting for your relaxing day out.

Traditional Japanese food by Pika Pika will be available on the day, with a selection of delicious sushi and curry available.

Bring your own food and drink too. Cafe open for light refreshments
Music and other activities likely! Take part in learning how to create beautiful origami creations.
Normal entrance fees

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The Strawberry Tree

  The Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo) is a easy tree or shrub to identify, having both flowers and fruit present at the same time. The strawberry (or I think more like lychee) like fruit take up to a year to ripen, so as last year’s fruits turn red, the flowers that will form next year’s fruit start to appear. The fruit is said to be edible, although not very tasty, which may be hinted at in it’s Latin name ‘unedo‘; coming from unum edo ‘I eat one’ – meaning after you have eaten one you wouldn’t want another one? Having not yet tried one I couldn’t say! Which is good news for the birds, leaving plenty of fruit for them to feast on during the colder months.

A member of the Ericaceae family of plants, most commonly known as heather, the flowers bear a strong resemblance to those of heathers, with bell-like downward facing flowers in small clusters.

You may have also seen this plant in a well known Morris & Co. design, used in fabrics and wallpapers where you can clearly see the red fruits and white flowers.

Have a wander down to the Lower Wilderness to have a closer look at these interesting plants..

 

 

 

 

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Kale

This week I planted out 40 Kale plants in the Batty Langley vegetable garden that have been quietly growing along in the greenhouse since September. We are trying three varieties, ‘Red Russian’, ‘Cavolo Nero’ and ‘Borecole – Green Curled Dwarf’.

Kale does well over the colder months, so will hopefully add some interest in the garden over the following darker months. As pigeons take a fancy to stripping the foliage off plants in the Brassica family, the precaution of placing net over the kale plants has been necessary to stop them becoming just tattered stems!

I have used two beds to grow the kale in, with 20 plants in each one, and to create a neat formal look the use of a tape measure was implemented to ensure even spacing.

The botanical name for kale is Brassica oleracea var. acephala, ‘Brassica’ being the genus consisting of cabbages, ‘oleracea’ meaning that the plant can be used as a vegetable and ‘acephala’ meaning ‘without a head’, i.e that the plant is loose leafed rather than with a head as many cultivated cabbages have. Kale has a long history as a food crop, being one of the most important green vegetables in Europe up until the end of the Middle Ages.

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New plants from old

At this time of year a lot of plants are starting to go to seed, so it is a good time to go around and collect some of them so we can grow new plants for next year. Some can be sown straight away (as we are doing so in the greenhouses), others can be stored to be sown in the spring. We are also taking cuttings of some of the plants in the garden, and hopefully by next spring we will have lots of lovely plants to sell or plant back out in the garden.

We are trying seeds collected from plants including Alcea (hollyhock), Lychnis (rose campion), Lupin, Astrantia, Galega (Goat’s Rue), Poppy and Phlomis. Some, such as Lychnis, have already germinated, others we are still eagerly awaiting for signs of life! The interesting thing about seeds is the genetic variation that can occur, so often the resulting plants will show some variation from the parent, especially in the case of the hollyhocks, where the colour of the flowers on each plant will be a surprise!

Cuttings taken include Lavender, Rosemary, Jasmine and Philadelphus. These are all semi-ripe cuttings taken from this year’s growth, so the base is firm but with soft growth still on the tips. They are put in pots together, and then when roots start to show at the base of the pot, they will be separated and given their own pot to grow on. Unlike seeds, cuttings create clones of the parent plant, so you know exactly what you are going to get.

We look forward to seeing how our seeds and cuttings do, and in the meantime they have a trusty guardian to keep an eye on them!

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Invasion of the Giant Flowers … half term activities

Did you shrink or did the flowers just grow?

Wander amongst our beautiful towering plants over 4 metres tall – they’re crocheted!

This May half term join in the festival atmosphere with our Alice in Wonderland sized installation… All week from Bank Holiday Monday (29th May) through to Friday (June 2nd) we’ll also running family friendly activities around our flower theme.

  • Add a pompom flower to our woolly field and make some pom pom bees to fly amongst them.
  • Help us build giant bug hotel and learn how to make your own mini-beastie hotel at home.

    http://www.wildaboutgardens.org.uk/thingstodo/inaweekend/bug-mansion.aspx
    credit: Sue Tatman & RHShome.
  • And why not construct a giant birds nest for the little ones to snuggle up in.
  • Little green fingers can also help us plant up our Jack and the Giant Beanstalk runner bean tunnel… plant now and come back to play in the tunnel over summer.

The giant flowers are here all week and weekend (Sunday to Saturday), the family activities are Monday to Friday.

Family Friendly sessions + entry to the Gardens £2 (for anyone over 5 years old)

Family Activities Annual Pass holders: FREE

NB Normal entry prices for non-family groups

 

Family Activities 12- 3pm Monday to Friday

Gardens open Saturday 27th – Sunday 4th

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Flowers from the past

1760 was a long time ago, especially in flower terms.

Plant and garden enthusiasts develop hundreds, if not thousands, of new plant varieties every year. Here at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens we try to grow plants that would have been familiar to the gardeners up till the mid 18th century.

Sometimes, especially with simpler plants and herbs, there has been little change; looking at old drawings and engravings you can easily identify some plants we grow today. Others have been refined and developed far from their origins. Flowerheads are often bred for brighter colours and greater showiness.

Here we try to get a balance between pleasing our 21st century eyes and maintaining a period 17th and 18th century feel.

For our spring displays we have a mix of modern and older daffodils and tulips. This year we are particularly pleased to introduce two stunning early flowers both as it happens, supplied to us by Thomas Etty Esq. of Somerset.

narcissus-poeticus-plenus-alba-odoratus

The narcissus poeticus albus plenus odoratus was probably around before 1590 and sometimes is called the double Pheasants Eye or Gardenia-flowered narcissus. It’s all white (albus) with a full and ‘plentiful’ centre (plenus) and very fragrant (odoratus). We hope you will find it peeping over some of our box hedges on the North Border. On a sunny day you may even smell it  before you see it.

The second reintroduction is of tulipa sylvestris. Thomas Etty describes it as

“Violet scented almond-shaped lemon yellow flowers in mid April. Naturalises well in grass. Said, bywoodland tulip some, to have first travelled to these shores attached upon the roots of grape vines brought from Italy by the Romans.”

Although ‘sylvestris’ suggests a woodland setting, we will plant them on the sloping bank
behind the Holly Walk, alongside the cowslips, primroses and daffodils. Magical!

 

 

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Half Term Family Activities – Bats and Pumpkins

Colourful leaves, pumpkins and bats.

Crisp and bright. Run around, stir up a colourful cloud of autumn leaves. Be a dragon blowing steamy clouds from your mouth.

Everyday during half term we’ll have some outdoor and indoor craft activities for young people and orange-pumpkin-with-fly-579be13e3df78c3276846a38their grownups. Our themes are pumpkins and bats… we have plenty of both.

Leaf Hedgehog pictures, pinecone spiders, batty mobiles and bat finger puppets. Make a paper Pumpkin Lantern and on Thursday meet the Bat lady.

bats-web(NB we have various garden grown pumpkins for sale … until they’re gone)

12 – 3pm Monday to Friday. £2 each for everyone over 5 years of age 

(£8 family day ticket, Free to Season Pass holders)

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Rare Plant Fair

Sunday 7th August, 11am-4pm

Another visit by this great selling Fair run by Ian and Teresa Moss.
14 unique nurseries with an amazing array of plants to buy.
Entry price include visit to the Gardens, free garden tour and the Plant Fair. Cafe open for light refreshments
£5 Adults (optional Gift Aid price) £4 RHS Members (optional Gift Aid price)  Children £1.00
For list of nurseries attending click here: RarePlantFair

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