Tag: plants

Snow Stops Sunday Saunter – Sorry

Cancelled today sorry

Sometimes all you want on Sunday afternoon at this time of year is a bit of fresh air and a stretching of the legs.

No kitting up for a long walk in the hills, just a stroll around a green and peaceful place…

This winter we are having a series of special weekend openings at the Gardens with this need in mind. There are five ‘Sunday Saunters’ between the end of January and the beginning of the season in April.

Late Winter and early Spring is also just a fascinating time in our Gardens.. the snowdrops, aconites and hellebores begin to emerge. As the days get longer the birds (and the box hedges!) get more active. Soon our drifts of daffodils begin to shoot up. When we are lucky enough to have some sunshine the low raking light illuminates the walkways and creates intriguing silhouettes.

We like to share these transient treasures, so Sunday opening offers a chance for our busy visitors to have a couple of hours of healthy pootering outdoors.

Of course it’s still a bit parky, so we have opened our 18th century Greenhouse (sometimes known as the Orangery) for people to find shelter and get a cup of warming chocolate.

On some of the days we will also strike up the firepit and indulge in toasted marshmallows and have some simple family crafts too.

Entry on Sunday 4th March is free

 

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Snow Stops Sunday Saunter – Sorry

Cancelled today sorry

Sometimes all you want on Sunday afternoon at this time of year is a bit of fresh air and a stretching of the legs.

No kitting up for a long walk in the hills, just a stroll around a green and peaceful place…

This winter we are having a series of special weekend openings at the Gardens with this need in mind. There are five ‘Sunday Saunters’ between the end of January and the beginning of the season in April.

Late Winter and early Spring is also just a fascinating time in our Gardens.. the snowdrops, aconites and hellebores begin to emerge. As the days get longer the birds (and the box hedges!) get more active. Soon our drifts of daffodils begin to shoot up. When we are lucky enough to have some sunshine the low raking light illuminates the walkways and creates intriguing silhouettes.

We like to share these transient treasures, so Sunday opening offers a chance for our busy visitors to have a couple of hours of healthy pootering outdoors.

Of course it’s still a bit parky, so we have opened our 18th century Greenhouse (sometimes known as the Orangery) for people to find shelter and get a cup of warming chocolate.

On some of the days we will also strike up the firepit and indulge in toasted marshmallows and have some simple family crafts too.

Entry on Sunday 4th March is free

 

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Snow Stops Sunday Saunter – Sorry

Cancelled today sorry

Sometimes all you want on Sunday afternoon at this time of year is a bit of fresh air and a stretching of the legs.

No kitting up for a long walk in the hills, just a stroll around a green and peaceful place…

This winter we are having a series of special weekend openings at the Gardens with this need in mind. There are five ‘Sunday Saunters’ between the end of January and the beginning of the season in April.

Late Winter and early Spring is also just a fascinating time in our Gardens.. the snowdrops, aconites and hellebores begin to emerge. As the days get longer the birds (and the box hedges!) get more active. Soon our drifts of daffodils begin to shoot up. When we are lucky enough to have some sunshine the low raking light illuminates the walkways and creates intriguing silhouettes.

We like to share these transient treasures, so Sunday opening offers a chance for our busy visitors to have a couple of hours of healthy pootering outdoors.

Of course it’s still a bit parky, so we have opened our 18th century Greenhouse (sometimes known as the Orangery) for people to find shelter and get a cup of warming chocolate.

On some of the days we will also strike up the firepit and indulge in toasted marshmallows and have some simple family crafts too.

Entry on Sunday 4th March is free

 

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#wegrowtogether: a guide to companion planting

There’s a lot of wisdom out there amongst professional and amateur gardeners. Much folklore and science knowledge handed down from generation to generation. 

In the post second world war  ‘nuke everything with a chemical’ era, a lot of native knowledge about what grew well with what, was lost and indeed strongly poo-poohed as ‘magic’ and superstition.

Thankfully since then, largely due to the Organic Gardening lobby, a more rational approach and some good scientific studies have been instrumental in making the practice of ‘companion planting’ an accepted practice amongst mainstream gardeners.

In our veg. and herb garden (the Batty Langley), we tend to mix some pre-18th century practices with some modern wisdom. We don’t use chemicals and plant calendula, nasturtiums, borage, comfrey etc plants amongst the vegetables to encourage beneficial insects.

On the Schools plot we have also experimented with ‘Three Sisters’ planting. This is a techniques used primarily by native north american peoples and combines three main agricultural crops winter squash, maize (corn), and climbing beans.

“The three crops benefit from each other. The maize provides a structure for the beans to        climb, eliminating the need for poles. The beans provide the nitrogen to the soil that the other  plants use, and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight, helping prevent the establishment of weeds. The squash leaves also act as a “living mulch”, creating a microclimate to retain moisture in the soil, and the prickly hairs of the vine deter pests. Corn, beans, and squash contain complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids and all eight essential amino acids, allowing most Native American tribes to thrive on a plant-based diet.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Sisters_(agriculture)

There is quite a lot of information out there on the web but we thought we would share a guide made by one of our helpful commercial partners, FirstTunnels.

Click here to be taken to their very comprehensive site

https://www.firsttunnels.co.uk/page/Companion-Planting-Guide

 

 

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Snow Stops Sunday Saunter – Sorry

Cancelled today sorry

Sometimes all you want on Sunday afternoon at this time of year is a bit of fresh air and a stretching of the legs.

No kitting up for a long walk in the hills, just a stroll around a green and peaceful place…

This winter we are having a series of special weekend openings at the Gardens with this need in mind. There are five ‘Sunday Saunters’ between the end of January and the beginning of the season in April.

Late Winter and early Spring is also just a fascinating time in our Gardens.. the snowdrops, aconites and hellebores begin to emerge. As the days get longer the birds (and the box hedges!) get more active. Soon our drifts of daffodils begin to shoot up. When we are lucky enough to have some sunshine the low raking light illuminates the walkways and creates intriguing silhouettes.

We like to share these transient treasures, so Sunday opening offers a chance for our busy visitors to have a couple of hours of healthy pootering outdoors.

Of course it’s still a bit parky, so we have opened our 18th century Greenhouse (sometimes known as the Orangery) for people to find shelter and get a cup of warming chocolate.

On some of the days we will also strike up the firepit and indulge in toasted marshmallows and have some simple family crafts too.

Entry on Sunday 4th March is free

 

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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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Autumn Harvest: Apples, Potatoes, Vegetables

A day to celebrate all the good things nature has brought us…
Apples, veg and potato displays, excellent food, cake and bread sales, cob-oven cooking, foraging walks, storytelling from the Green Man, dancing with the Glorishears of Brummagem Molly Dancers, snap apple, apple printing and other family craft activities.

Bring a bottle to fill with your own juiced apples. Bring any apples from your own trees or have harvested from trees on common land.
A day of sharing, swopping recipes, sharing cooking secrets and making. 

Our apple harvest hasnt been great this year, but there is still plenty on common land trees. You are welcome to bring apples to share or to crush and take home in your own bottles…
(we cant guarantee your success, but lets have a go)


Join Dr Rob Tilling for a foraging walk around and outside the Gardens and outside the walls (1.30 ish for 40mins).
Food from Change Kitchen, our local jam and cake wizards and more.

Normal entry prices

(RHS and Garden Members £3.50)

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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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Cyclamen hederifolium

If you take a walk along the top of the Upper Wilderness to the far end and gaze underneath the large Yew tree, you will see the tiny but perfectly formed Cyclamen hederifolium coming into flower. A mixture of pink and white, the tiny flowers appear before the foliage, which as its name suggests is ivy-shaped (‘hederifolium’ coming from the Latin ‘Hedera’ for ivy, ‘folium’ refering to the leave shape). The common name ‘ivy-leaved cyclamen’ is self-explanatory, but its other common name ‘sowbread’ intrigued me. A bit of research concluded that it comes from the fact that ‘The root resembled a loaf and pigs were believed to enjoy eating it’.1  

Cyclamen coils

This plant originates in the Mediterranean, and was introduced into Britain around 1596, so would have been available in the early 18th century when the gardens were at their peak.

After the flowers have been pollinated, the stem coils around to take the seed heads closer to the ground, forming interesting little corkscrews underneath the flowers that you can see if you look closely. The reason they do this is not clear, but a possible theory is that ants may distribute the seeds further from the parent plant. All in all, a very interesting plant that is worth a closer look!

1. Campbell-Culver, M. 2001. Origins of plants: the people and the plants that shaped Britain. London: Headline Book Publishing.

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Rare Plants Fair

Another visit from some wonderful independent nurseries.

The Rare Plants Fair is organised by Teresa and Ian Moss who have taken the brand into its 23rd season. The seek out the best sources of plants from the many specialist growers and nurseries around the country. Many are based in remote locations, or may not be open regularly (or at all) to the public at their home sites. So the Rare Plant Fairs gather these together and decamp to beautiful gardens for a day of pleasurable buying, and drooling, over plants, grown with love.

We count ourselves blessed to be able to welcome the Fair again this year. Although we have struggled been without a professional Gardener in post for the last few months, our volunteers have been working overtime (if that is an appropriate category for volunteers) to get the Gardens ready for our fellow nursery friends.

Normal entry fees to the Gardens and the chance to buy some amazing well grown and unusual plants…Cafe and shop open as usual.

For a full list of visiting nurseries see here http://www.rareplantfair.co.uk/our-fairs/2017-castle-bromwich-hall-gardens/

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