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May 18, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Walled Garden progress

 Jason painting glasshouse

Jason painting glasshouse

Replacement timber to glasshouse

Replacement timber to glasshouse

600 pumpkins sown

600 pumpkins sown

Apple blossom in old paddock near the garden

Apple blossom in old paddock near the garden

Viola flowers for salads

Viola flowers for salads

Gavin went to see for himself the Apley Walled Garden progress yesterday & chatted with Phil who’s just sent me these photos:

This year Phil has planted 600 Racer pumpkins – so named because they grow fast & end up large enough to carve. Last year we grew 300 last year & sold so many that we had to buy in from other sources. They’re currently in the greenhouse & will be planted on the Apley Farm Shop pumpkin patch just before Open Farm Sunday on 7 June.

Thes apple trees in the Walled Garden paddocks are approaching the end of their lives – probably planted about 100 yrs ago. Last September & October, Adrian’s Apley cows particularly loved the apples whenever they were within reach ! The amazing blossom is possibly a result of having at least 15 days of sub-zero temperatures (easy to forget now it’s so much warmer !). In mild winters, the trees don’t go into a proper dormancy which is one of the factors which brings about dense blossom. Late frosts kill early blossom, which we luckily didn’t have this year.

In the garden this year, every flower (75 different varieties) is edible – sunflowers, borage, violas, calendula, broad bean flowers, nasturtiums (9 different colours) & even basil grown for flowers.

When completed, Phil will probably use the newly renovated glasshouse to grow cut flowers for sale in Apley Farm Shop – the glass will slow up & cool down more slowly than the plastic polytunnels, thereby extending the growing season even more for Phil. The temperatures in the gardens themselves (outside) reached 95˚F (28˚C) & inside the polytunnels, it rose to over 120˚F. He’s looking forward to higher night time temperatures to now speed up growth of all his crops.

Tom (Apley Estate Yard team) has replaced some of the damaged woodwork on the glasshouse we’re renovating with Apley Estate’s very own oak.

Phil’s managing the garden’s rabbit population – there’s only 1 left within the walls, but together, they’ve destroyed a whole crop of Phil’s radishes ! (think Peter & Mr McGregor).

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