Landscape & Garden Update 08.05.16

Long overdue is an update from the grounds team at Compton Verney…so here it is!

Oak Foliage

Rising temperatures and longer day length makes for rapid plant growth, and most notably across the lawns and meadows. Indeed, brambles in the woodland garden areas have patiently waited and are now showing their worth and stretching for the light between the rapidly closing tree canopy.

Across the lawns, we’re trimming as normal but for the West Lawn, the formally mown trellis pattern of last year is making way for informal paths that wind between the wild flowers. Already the mown paths are showing and can be followed to shady spots and a new feature garden I’ll describe below.

Our bare-root planting was completed recently with a focus on the new ‘Wilderness-Area’ boardwalk. Colourful dogwood and willow was planted there and is already shooting from the tops of the rabbit guards, this will in time knit together to create nesting and feeding opportunities for our feathered visitors.

Mulching - Compton Verney Style!

We’ve also tried to capitalise on the moisture trapped in the soil during the winter and mulched many areas of planting. Mulching now with around 10cm of organic matter helps to retain moisture through the warmer months ahead, and makes any weeds that do manage to germinate easier to pull out.

Our stunning new welcome centre is now open for business, and whilst the immediate surrounds have been landscaped by contractors, it will be handed over to us shortly and a shrub layer will be high on the priority list. The new paths that lead away from the centre follow the old eighteenth century route, but before exploring be sure to see the interpretation room within the centre that will explain how the landscape came to be.

Welcome centre at Compton Verney

Across the West Lawn, some will be familiar with the bee hives that are managed by our volunteer keeper Rod. The bees are doing really well despite the cold start to their year, and have been seen out on milder days for many weeks now. They’ve been well fed and attended to, and we’ve even cut their front lawn to aid take off, so hopefully we’ll be repaid with a new crop of delicious honey in the summer.

Talking of summer, from Sat 9 July – Sun 2 October, we’re staging an exhibition titled Britain in the Fifties: Design and Aspiration. As with the Arts and Crafts exhibition last year, we’ve opted to move an element outdoors with an evocative, if challenging side-project; a fifties allotment! For 2016 therefore, much attention has been given to the planning and setting up of an allotment, where we hope to capture the essence of a working fifties vegetable plot.

Fifties Allotment

Although not being accustomed to the staging of a show gardens, or growing vegetables particularly, our team has really got behind this and we’re trying to be as accurate as possible to this fascinating period in our gardening history. Did I mention we’re also embracing an organic approach to the garden? Naturally! I shall certainly post again soon to cover the allotment progress in more detail. Although it’s not technically open until the summer, you can see the garden taking shape over the coming weeks, so do drop by and watch us grow0!

Before I finish this post, I must just mention the half-marathon that occurred earlier today at Compton Verney. The event, now in its fourth year is managed by Tempo Events and makes full use of the lawns for the start and finish, and has a growing number of competitors each year. I was there this morning to see the mass of runners depart at 9.30, with Kelsey the winner returning home a little over one hour and twenty minutes later; not bad at all considering the warm temperature! It’s really good to see the landscape park being used in this way, and especially so for the children’s fun run that takes place in Old Town Meadow after the main event – perfect for a Sunny Sunday!

Compton Verney Half Marathon

I shall be back soon with more information about our growing 1950’s allotment and more, but for now – happy gardening!