Garden Update

South Kesteven-20120907-00940 sweet pea harvestFor the last few weeks we have been clearing the meadows. This is a timeless process as our meadows are maintained in the same way as ancient hay meadows.

The grass is cut with a modern Allen Scythe, raked into rows and then piled into mounds of hay before being cleared away. As the rows dry, the last flower seeds drop onto the ground below. These germinate in the spring in any patch of clear ground.

We have nearly finished harvesting our sweet peas too. Bags of seed are collected and hung in the greenhouse to dry out, then we need to clean out all of the pods before the seeds are packed away.

It might sound simple, but the process is actually very time consuming. All of our peas have been assessed throughout the summer. Each variety is marked with separate coloured labels depending on how happy we were with the quality of the flowers on each plant.

This is very important to ensure that each variety comes true from the best seed. These seeds are then available for us to grow and for you to buy. Some of our varieties are available to purchase on the online shop, but please do contact us if you are looking for something in particular.

With best wishes,

From us all at Easton Walled Gardens.

Children’s Week

IMG-20111020-00504 pumpkin rolling.jpgPumpkin rolling is back!  Between 23rd – 25th and 27th October, we are holding our very special Children’s Week at the gardens.

Along with the ancient game, kids will be able to take part in a fantastic range of activities including snail feeding and learning how to pot their own plants.

For more information, please visit our website.

 

 

Win a place on a workshop

Screen shot 2013-09-27 at 13.56.43Our Autumn Workshop Week is just around the corner, so we’re giving you the chance to win a place on a course of your choice*.

With everything to make from wreaths to chocolate, there is something for everyone to enjoy within the idyllic surroundings of the gardens.

Just visit our Facebook page and enter your details to be in with a chance of winning, or to book your place head to our online shop.

Why are Aquilegia known as Columbines?

Aquilegia are commonly known as Columbines (another name for doves.) This picture of a white columbine in the Woodland Walk illustrates exactly how it got its name. It looks like a group of four doves perched on a post cooing to each other.

Aquilegia vulgaris are also referred to as Grannies bonnets. I think this must refer to some of the dark blue or pinky double forms which look like 19th century bonnets (sort of.)

Columbines are famously promiscuous and will seed themselves around. Under the trees, we have blue, pink, white, yellow and bi-colour forms in single and double flowers. Perhaps the columbine’s frisky ways are responsible for the folk-lore tradition that suggested carrying a posy would have a similar effect on a lover.

Columbine Aquilegia doves

Healthy plants for colour in November.

The onset of late autumn encourages us to look hard at the things in the gardens that are really earning their keep. Plants flowering or adding to the garden scene now tend to be extremely healthy and need very little care through the year. Here are some of the best plants in the gardens at Easton now.
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Cotinus coggygria ‘Grace’ with Rubus thibetanus ‘Silver Fern’ in the Velvet Border. ‘Grace’ is an exceptional smokebush cultivar for autumn colour.
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Colchicums in the Cedar Meadow. Although they are coming to the end of their flowering time and the slugs have had a little taste, these have been up for at least 3 weeks. This meadow is managed as a spring meadow and is mown from July onwards. When the temperature starts to drop, we stop mowing to prevent the heads of these lovely autumn bulbs from being decapitated.
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Perhaps not to everyone’s taste is Prunus laurocastus ‘Marbled White’ but to my mind, beautifully marked. For us, this is the perfect shrub, being totally hardy, disease free, offering something all year round, easy to grow and not attractive to our resident rabbit population. It is growing quite densely but I am hoping to remove the lower branches as it grows. This will allow light underneath and we can plant delicate woodland plants below.
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Rudbeckia triloba or Brown Eyed Susan. Technically a biennial this has flowered with us as a shortlived perennial. In flower for at least a month and totally unaffected by the frosts of the last couple of nights. This is still flowering in the long border with Aster turbellinus, see below.
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The last of our Asters to flower with a wiry but graceful habit, this perennial makes about 1 metre in our beds. The tiny buds  and airy foliage have been attractive for months but it’s lovely to see the flowers now.
If you would like to see these plants and great autumn colour, the gardens are open on Sundays in November for FREE!