Thursday, 9 December 2010

Autumn in the Garden

We started the Autumn season with a bulb planting day. With the help of one of the Castle's new members of staff, Claire Lee. We took the advantage of of the last of the sunny warm October days and planted bluebells, snowdrops, crocuses, wild garlic and wild daffodils under the big trees in the garden. We'll hopefully see some lovely colourful flowers pop up from next Spring! These early flowers will certainly keep the bees happy.

We also had the pleasure seeing these lovely jerusalem artichoke flowers which were in full flower all October! We harvested plenty of them at the end of November, some given to volunteers and the rest to the Castle cafe. Sam and Giusi, made great use of them and served them up roasted with potatoes and rosemary.

Around this time of year, while working around the garden we found ourselves unintentionally finding hibernating wildlife, so we made sure to make an range of habitats, such as our "sleazy bug hotels", "lacewing hotel" and a "habitat mansion" made with pallets stacked on top of each other, inspired by the London Wildlife Trust.

The Stumpery
One of my favourite habitats to create is the Victorian inspired "stumpery". (To carry on the theme of the castle being originally Victorian building and grounds). We have lots of dead tree stumps with roots, and old logs from when we had the sycamores pulled out. We half buried them in the ground and planted ferns, woodland plants and bulbs around them. We hope to attract some stag beetles! Other Victoiran features to look out for in our garden is the "figgery", "shrubbery" and the "mushroomery"

On our early November workday some young climbers came out and helped make our "lacewing hotels" out of used plastic bottles.

The Swale

Barry leading the way with our swale on the hill! Of course it took him no time to complete, with the help of a few extra strong hands.

We have nearly completed the swale. This part of the project is led by the CEO of the Castle, Steve Taylor. This swale is basically a ditch dug along the contours of the hill at the back of the castle, and it's purpose is for water from the mens changing rooms, (from the sinks and showers) to run through it and adding extra infiltration into the soil. We will be planting lots of trees and shrubs in the mounds in front of the swale. We hope to get this planted and started by the start of Spring next year, so watch this space!

Our November bonfire celebration

Tom Trimmins and his wickerman, which he later was set alight in the HUGE bonfire, along with all our effigies....

winter vegetables from the mini plotters and
wild mushrooms found in the garden.

NEXT in the garden
- we'll be battling it out through the icy cold winter planning, preparing, creating the new forest garden area, and we'll be having a Winter solstice celebration with a bonfire on the 19th December, click here for details.