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February 18, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Walled Garden in February

2015-02, AWG progress photos (5)

Polytunnel for salad crops

2015-02, AWG progress photos (11)

Clearing after the removal of fallen spruces

2015-02, AWG progress photos (8)

I’ll take a photo from this spot every time I visit

2015-02, AWG progress photos (7)

Artichokes benefitting from manure fertiliser

As the girls rode their ponies nearby, I made it to Apley Walled Garden today to catch up with Phil Allen, Head Gardener. Sam was also there in a hired digger / clearing vehicle, clearing the area under the lime trees, where some spruces fell / were felled last year. Other than providing useful parking space for tour & gardening course attendees, Phil is planting some fruit trees in place of the spruces. Gavin’s bought 40 holly (Aquafolium) hedge trees which will be planted along the fence line.We began in the melon pit where Phil said he’d had a rodent problem. In fact, there was a dead mouse at the entrance, which to me was Mr McGregor saying to the other mice ‘don’t even consider going any further’. The mice & rats ate 500 broad bean seeds which Phil had planted out, so he’s taken serious action !

The Messenger glasshouse just next door will soon have new roof wood work (ready to be installed) & glass (will be ordered once the wood is in place). ‘We’ll have shoots there’ explained Phil. Pheasant shoots, film shoots – neither – alfalfa shoots for the super fit & healthy. Buzzed up with juice, you get a fab vitamin boost.

Next we looked at the (lid-less) cold frames. He’s preparing the soil inside them & nurturing purple asparagus seedlings this year, ready to plant in the cold frames next year, ready for first asparagus harvest in 2017.

We then looked at the hazel coppicing which Neill Mapes has been done. This provides Phil with pea sticks & in 3-4 yrs time, bean sticks (when they’re bigger & stronger). Neill then uses wood he collects to create beautiful bowls, chopping boards, spoons & much more, which he sells in Apley Farm Shop (perfect, unique presents).

On our way into the Walled Garden itself, we passed moss covered roofs which need treating & low branches (which need removing) of ancient yew trees (they could be as old as the gardens, pre 1775). As well as the holly trees, Gavin’s also bought some hazel trees (filburt is apparently a delicious variety) for nuts, to be sold in Apley Farm Shop.

I’ll add more tomorrow as today’s nearly run out of time 🙂

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