Our Tudor visitors cooked up a feast

We were delighted that William Cecil and entourage visited us yesterday. The local villagers cooked up a feast for them and found time to celebrate St George’s day. Visitors enjoyed learning archery, quill writing, basketry and much more besides. We hope the Merrie Folke will visit us again next year!

Sally Kington and Trustee Sue Gilbert with the Telamonius Plenus in the Lime Wood 24 March 2023

Which daffodil is this?

Today we were thrilled to show Sally Kington the daffodils in Lime Wood. She surveyed them in 2003, when she was the International Daffodil Registrar, and we think we still have most of the varieties she identified then! This one is the Telamonius Plenus, a double yellow, which was first recorded in England in 1629. Ours will have been planted as part of the Peto garden makeover in 1902.


Dead, crossed or poor shape

Neil helped us prune the apples and pears this week. My recollection of his key messages: first cut out dead wood; then take out branches which cross; and finally focus on the shape of the tree – with the aim of opening up the centre to allow air to flow and get to the fruit. Hopefully there’s plenty of blossom buds left and our careful pruning will improve our harvest! We also pruned ...

Dig for Victory

RHS exhibition put in place

Despite the heat this week, we got some tidying done in advance of the Open Day on Sunday and today we put the RHS exhibition in place. At the Open Day we will remember the role of the Countess and Gardens in WWI and the men and women of the airbase in WWII. The RHS exhibition includes a wealth of photos and information about the Dig for Victory campaign. Without doubt the kitchen garden would hav ...


Dead hedging

Steven, Carolyn, Sue and I made a start on a dead hedge in the proposed new orchard corner of the walled kitchen garden. A dead hedge is a great way to create a new feature, tidying the area, while locking away the carbon in the wood. And we have plenty of pruned and fallen branches that we can use and the stems of the philadelphus being chewed and discarded by the deer – the latter are nice ...

tulips apr 2020

Prinz Armin to cheer us

Sue planted these gorgeous tulips to provide colour for the April open day and they are blooming on schedule! The National Trust provide a lovely history of tulips on their website, charting their origin as wild flowers in Asia, through the Dutch Tulipmania which climaxed in 1637, with the futures market for the most prized bulbs reaching as much as 10,000 guilders each – the price of a hous ...

cherry 9 april 2020


This cherry blossom (sakura) is in the kitchen garden and cherries will soon be blossoming also in the Glade and Italian garden. Our local Trustees will enjoy their Hanami in isolation! Did you know that the Japanese tradition of ‘hanami’ (which translates to cherry blossom viewing) may date back to the Heian Period (794 – 1185) and was originally the viewing of plum blossoms? In Japan cherry blos ...


Our national champion

Never mind the snow and the very wet Garden, our Easton Countess is on her way to becoming a national champion! The Tree Register keep a database of trees, which due to their height or girth are county or national champions. As the Easton Countess apple tree is now registered as a first of kind, she will be a national champion and David has now taken her measurements to add her to the Tree Registe ...


Engineers as well as gardeners

Our volunteers are a talented bunch – here, John and Stephen are making great progress installing a ramp into the Italian Garden so that volunteers can wheel their barrows in and out and avoid bumping up and down the newly restored steps! We were visited today by the grandson and great-grandson of the Countess of Warwick’s head gardener in the early 1900s. After his career in gardening ...


Cherry plum jam this year perhaps?

Hopefully a few jars of jam. But it will take some time before this cherry plum tree gives us the 10 bushels of cherry plums that the September 1886 Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardening reported had been picked in a year in our walled Garden! That would be 32 pecks or 80 gallons of fruit – that’s a lot of kilograms! The article explained that cherry plums were much valued for ...


The black arts of compost

Compost is universally prized in the Gardens, but how to make it is more controversial! Today was the day for turning one bin over into the next, to mix it, and hopefully accelerate it; whilst making space for more in the emptied bin. We are also agreeing new rules for what goes in, and more importantly what doesn’t – we don’t want to spread the invasive weeds that we have alread ...


Our triffid mullein is still flowering!

Mulleins self seed in various places around the gardens but in the walled kitchen garden the plants have often been completely devoured by the caterpillars of the mullein moth. This Italian garden one escaped that fate and is flowering still: its flower stalks growing longer and longer, and twisting as they go, to form fantastic spirals. This may be another consequence of the mild and sunny autumn ...