The snowdrops are at their best, ready for the Open Day on Sunday 18th. The birds are singing and in the warm areas in the Garden it is possible to dawdle and enjoy the sights, as we did today with visitors from Austria and Switzerland and a more local gardening group.
The walled kitchen garden is looking ready for planting. There, we discussed with our visitors how quintessentially British is a walled kitchen garden – other European large houses didn’t need to build walls and heated greenhouses to supply fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the year! As we know ours has a long history – with some of the brick dating back to tudor times. In 1886 The Journal of horticulture and cottage gardener said “In the kitchen garden are vineries, cucumber and melon houses, frames &c., with a peach house 80 feet long, and planted with Princess of Wales, Barrington, Stirling Castle, Early Louise, and Nectarines Lord Napier and Violet Hâtive, healthy trees that have already yielded well and give excellent promise for the future…. The kitchen garden has a good many of fruit trees, apples, pears and plums, some old, but others in vigorous fruit-bearing condition. Very notable is a large specimen of Myrobalon or Cherry Plum, from which as much as 10 bushels of fruit has been obtained in one year.” The old varieties of fruit trees that we planted last year are mostly established – particularly the peaches and nectarines against the wall where the peach house was – and we are wondering whether this year we might start seeing some fruits from our labour!