Landscape & Garden Update – 19.06.18
Welcome to the Landscape & Garden Update – 19.06.18. It’s been a while since we caught up but then, it has been an incredibly busy season thus far.
The delayed start to spring due to the cold and wet weather seemed to result in the landscape unfurling more slowly and gracefully than ever. From lesser celandine, through cowslips which are coming back very strongly now, to the mass of buttercups; the floral content continues to improve.
Right at this moment the lawn is waist high in meadow grasses, which although dense in appearance, are markedly less dominant across the whole area. Between the grasses the moon daisies light up vast areas, and nestled amongst these, the violet blue meadow cranesbill flowers indicate this species too is very happy, with its stronger than ever showing.
The meadow will continue in its current form through July, before being cut and baled in August, weather depending.
In the Wilderness
Another success story I’m glad to say is the continued and rapid establishment of the Wilderness Area within the Ice House Coppice. The restored pathways are our only access into and through the area, and with a degree of new planting to increase both food sources and nesting potential for wildlife, the area is once again knitting together and working effectively.
Through this space our resident Tawny Owls are frequently seen foraging, suggesting that the partial restoration of this area was delicate enough not to drive this species away. Do remember the accessible bird hide does offer the best vantage point to catch a glimpse.
Boating Good Fun
We recently pressed our maintenance boat into action to remove some self seeded vegetation from along the wave wall area – this was essential work that allows more effective monitoring of the wave wall and dam. For a first voyage the boat worked perfectly, although we did receive more than the average amount of comedic commentary from our colleagues! We look forward to more outings over the coming weeks, and hope also to master the art of rowing from A to B in a straight line!
Our allotment garden also continues to thrive, although not without a few close encounters of the slug kind through the latter spring months. Our nearby honey bees have been a little feisty during the warmer and more humid days, but once they calm a little we’ll be opening up the front gate so that visitors can once again pop inside the allotment to linger and inspect the produce.
This season we’ve incorporated some cut flowers for added interest, and whilst the plot will never be large enough to furnish the mansion with floral displays, the area itself has established as a very popular space that is interesting and, in due course, will be much more colourful throughout the year.
On the subject of honey bees, it is worth adding an image of our volunteer beekeeper Rod Oates harvesting some honey, which will shortly be appearing in the shop at Compton Verney. It’s another bumper year but it always does sell out fast, so please call ahead if you’re intending to visit just to collect honey – yes it is that popular!
I’d also like to add a mention of another volunteer; our bird recording expert Alwyn Knapton. Alwyn will be at the Summer Fayre on Sunday 24th June, based at the grounds gazebo, and will be able to inform and entertain with his knowledge of birdlife at Compton Verney. Alwyn will also be leading a Bird Walk on August 29
Alwyn is one of a range of volunteers who support the work of the grounds team, along with general grounds volunteers, moth recorders, and researchers. Volunteering is hugely important and we value every contribution, in part because it allows us to achieve those additional tasks that would otherwise be out of reach of the core staff team.
If you have a particular area of interest or experience, and are able to volunteer a few hours each week, we’d certainly be keen to discuss possibilities. I’m particularly interested just now to hear from gardeners who could assist with developing the ornamental areas, so if this sounds interesting, do get in touch – we’ll make it a win-win situation! For information, please – click here.
Thanks for visiting the Landscape and Garden Blog, and for reading to the very end! Until next time…
Gary Webb, Head of Landscape & Gardens, Compton Verney.