We’ve some lovely night time footage of our resident hedgehogs (see the footage on previous blog posts). They’re free to roam across all of the different habitats in the Gardens – they like cover, but they also like a bit of mown grass… we have plenty of both.
This week, with so few people in the gardens one of them has been bold enough to come out a foraging in the day time.
We were initially a bit worried. Hedgehogs are nocturnal and seeing one in the daytime can be a sign of a poorly pig.
We looked at here, she looked at us.. We looked again. No longer interested in us, she turned slowly and waddled off into the undergrowth
We think – given she ‘waddled well’ that the one in this picture was probably a female foraging for food or for nesting materials. Given the lively group we’ve seen on the nightcam… we can only hope that our hogs are growing in number.
It is now time to give your borders some attention. All the sunshine and showers means the garden should now be at its vibrant best. Remove any faded spring bedding at the end of the month, it’s served you well but it’s time for a change and old bedding can be put in the compost bin to go back on the garden next year as mulch.
Once the risk of frost has passed (what do you think?), plant out summer bedding and ensure it is kept well watered so it can establish.
Ensure any perennial weeds are swiftly removed and hoe off any annual weeds , don’t let them get the chance to flower and seed as this will greatly increase your workload. Tie in any shoots of climbing plants in your border. Plants like clematis are easier to manage when offshoots are short and young, if you allow them to get too long it’s almost impossible to prise them away from other plants they get tangled up in without snapping.
If you want hanging baskets plant them up now and allow them to establish for a few weeks in a frost free space make sure that when you put them out you keep them well watered, pick off the dead flowers and give them a liquid fertiliser feed every few weeks this should keep your hanging baskets flowering throughout the summer.
You can start to harvest rhubarb this month, twist the stem at the base of the plant but ensure you leave a few stems on each crown.
Don’t strip it bare as the plant needs to be able to feed its own crown. Continuing with this theme on the vegetable plot, if you have asparagus ensure that you stop cutting to leave some spears to grow at the end of the month. They produce a lovely ferny foliage which is
needed by the asparagus crown to capture sunlight to replenish its crown for next year. Potatoes that were planted in April (oh yes they were!) can now be earthed up, by drawing up mounds of soil up around the plant this will help the potatoes create more tubers from the buried stems and increase your crop.
You may have been mowing for a few months now, but it’s time to establish a regular routine. Mowing weekly will ensure you get a denser turf. A denser turf means a better looking lawn and less opportunity for weeds to establish – No don’t be tempted to do it too often because your ‘just want to get out there!’
We know that, over the centuries, the Gardens were a place where much music was played and enjoyed.
This May we had planned a 35th Anniversary celebratory romp through our history, this was to include some wonderful young musicians from Birmingham Conservatoire playing music from the times when the Gardens were at their peak in the late 1600s and early 1700s.
The small building at the end of the Holly Walk is known variously as the Music Room and the Summer House. Scholars from the Gardens, our sister site Weston Park and from the Conservatoire even have records of music manuscripts and what music parties were held.
We like to continue the tradition of having all kinds of music played outdoors on our site….
Today, let’s just celebrate the Spring and imagine this somewhere under our apple trees in the Orchards..
This piece is from the Fairie Queen by Purcell, which premiered in 1692 in London at the Dorset Gardens Theatre.
The music was written as part of a ‘Restoration spectacular’, a ‘masque’ or semi opera. Effectively it was a blockbuster show full of fancy costumes, amazing stage effects, music, songs and ballet all wrapped round Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream…
This short song is near the end of the Masque – the Queen and King of the Fairies – Titania and Oberon are in celebratory mood and are singing praises of the seasons..
Thus the ever Grateful Spring, Does her yearly Tribute bring; All your Sweets before him lay, Then round his Altar, Sing and Play
Who knows, Bridgeman family members, keen musicians, may at the time have purchased the manuscript of some of these airs and played them here, in Castle Bromwich.
It may not be everyone’s favourite choice of music.. but let’s hope we can all be grateful to Spring… I’m sure Titania and Oberon are already in the Gardens ..
Half Term Family Friendly Activities in the Gardens
Make the most of the warmer weather to get out and about in the open and discover nature.
Self Guided Trails all week
There’s a caterpillar flower trail for the littl’uns and for everyone, try our ‘invent a plant name‘ to stretch everyone’s creative powers.
3 days of craft activities.
Leaf and plant printing.
Make your own pictures, bunting or gift tags with collected leaves and flowers.
We’ll use 2 techniques. One with paint and one with a hammer (Hapa zome).
suitable for all ages (with adult supervision 12- 3pm, £2 per person (including garden entry).
FREE for Family Friendly Activities Annual Pass holders
Tuesday 28th May
Wednesday 29th May
Friday 31st May
Don’t forget the Gardens open at 11am – Make a day of it
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.