25 February 2011

We're going on a bean hunt

It's half term so the kids need entertaining and taking advantage on the unseasonal weather we went to Clumber Park. More specifically we spent most of the time in the Walled Kitchen Garden there - Walled Gardens, an obsession I've briefly touched on previously.

We usually manage to go there once a year or so and they're gradually bringing more and more of the garden back into use. I had a quick chat to a couple of the gardeners planting some trees against one of the walls and they're hoping to become a national centre for fruit trees specific to Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire - all of which are close to the Park.

There's surprisingly little information about the Walled Garden, but at 4 acres with a 450 foot long greenhouse there's quite a bit of space for growing in! As with most gardens of this nature, it fell out of fashion and was largely neglected. Clumber Park is now owned by the National Trust who are slowly resurrecting the garden, partly to supply the restaurant on site.

Whilst the kids went on a bean hunt I took lots of pictures:

View from the entrance to the Gardens, with the greenhouse in the distance
The walls
In a 4 acre garden there's a lot of walls to grow things up. And this garden has a lot of internal walls as well.

External wall growing pears trained on wires
On the other side of this walls they were planting apple trees, cookers since they don't need so much sun.

Fan trained trees

Close up of fan trained cherry

Not sure what these were behind the plastic as we didn't walk down this path. Peaches?

Around the garden


Medlar Tree

New veg bed in progress surrounded by step over trees

The Greenhouse
As I mentioned, it's quite a sizeable greenhouse:

Inside there's quite a bit to see too:

The path


Forcing Rhubarb
Vines - look like they've been there a while!

Work in progress:

For those of you worried you are behind with your seed sowing, look away now!

Some History

Fruit store room, together with some spraying equipment for days gone by

Pots used in the days before plastic

The tea room

An interesting topic in Sheffield (!), but one they've embraced in this garden, They're behind netting but on a balmy almost spring like day yesterday they were busy, and as well as seeing them come and go, you could hear them too.

Looking Back

Looking back towards the garden


The rose garden
Even the best of gardens suffer with moles!

21 February 2011

Book Recycling

I'm very bored at the moment as it's either raining, snowing or sleeting (I'm not sure what it is as I write this, but definitely one of them!) or we're away somewhere. So time on the plot is somewhat limited - fortunately my employer is helping with this and making me redundant at the end of March, so should be a top growing season ahead! I should be more concerned I guess, but I'm quite looking forward to escaping the drudgery and a new challenge. Quite what that will be I have no idea.

However, back to the subject. I've just finished reading One Man and His Dig: Adventures of an Allotment Novice, a late Christmas present from my brother. Has to be said it's no literary masterpiece but it's vaguely entertaining and about allotments. However, I'm not going to read it again and it's only going to sit on the bookshelf with the other 20+ allotment related books gathering dust. So I thought I'd jump on the competition band wagon and give it away, rather than take it to one of the local charity shops. Just leave a comment on this blog entry before the end of February to go into the draw - job offers (or even suggestions!) could help your chances!

I realise I may not have given this the best 'sell' ever with my comments, but hey it's free and the reviewers on Amazon have given it five stars so far. The only condition attached is after you've read it, you need to offer it to your readers and continue the recycling chain. And if all goes well I might start offering some of the other books. Lord knows we could do with getting rid of some cook books!

1 February 2011

Too many seeds?

Well of course I have! And let's face it, if you're reading an allotment blog you probably have too. Those of you who think not, you are obviously in denial!

This year I have ordered:

  • Aubergine Ophelia
  • Beetroot Baby Action 
  • Broccoli Claret 
  • Broccoli Summer Purple 
  • Broccoli Xtra Erly Rudolph 
  • Carrot Marion 
  • Cabbage Endeavour 
  • Courgette Atena 
  • Cabbage Ruby Perfection 
  • Celeriac Monarch 
  • Gherkin Bimbostar 
  • Herb Basil Sweet Genovese 
  • Herb Dill 
  • Herb Sage 
  • Leek Sevilla 
  • Salad Leaves 
  • Baby Leaf Mix 
  • Lettuce Little Gem 
  • Flower Sprout 
  • Salad Leaves Finest Mix 
  • Coriander Calypso 
  • Chilli Pepper Jalapeno 
  • Parsley Plain Leaved 
  • Perpetual Spinach (Large packet) 
  • Tomato Chocolate Cherry 
  • Caliente Mustard 
  • Thyme Duo Pack 
  • Dwarf French Bean Amethyst 
  • French Bean Solista 
  • French Bean Cobra 
  • Broad Bean M/P Longpod 
  • French Bean Golddukat
  • Pea Early Annonay
  • Pea Telephone Tall
  • White Patty-Pan
  • Reine des Glaces lettuce
  • Latah Tomato
  • Phacelia Tanacetifolia
  • Nasturtium Tall Mixed
  • Sunflower Big Smile
  • Sunflower Tall Single
  • Sweet Pea Old Fashioned Mix
From Marshalls (via the Allotment Association discount scheme), Real Seeds and the Organic Garden Catalogue.

Then of course there were the potatoes:
  • 2.5kg Charlotte
  • 2.5kg King Edward
  • 2.5kg Desiree
  • 1.25kg Pink Fir Apple

And the onions:
  • Sturton (White)
  • Red Baron (Red)
  • Golden Gourmet (Shallots)

All from the local Allotment Shop.

So far I've resisted planting any seeds - although this is partly due to the peat free compost I bought from B&Q. It is rubbish, full of large pieces of bark. Fortunately it was OK to put in module trays to put the onions in - they're either going to sit in bags in less than ideal conditions until it's OK to plant them out or I can put them in trays to start growing and get some roots down, that will hopefully stop the birds from pulling them out when they eventually make it outside.