Filming Clovelly: ‘Britain in 100 Homes’. Ellie Jarvis

Raise the Roof Productions, Glasgow came to film Clovelly all day on 25th October for “Britain in 100 Homes”.  After filming throughout the village, I was then interviewed in my home, Crazy Kate’s Cottage.

The official programme information is:
“Britain in 100 Homes. Every home in Britain tells a story of how we lived in the past and how we live today. This ambitious series will unpack how our homes have changed dramatically over the course of time. Our presenter Phil Spencer will be taking on the daunting challenge of telling the story of Britain in 100 Homes.”

It is expected to be shown on Channel 4 next year with Clovelly as a ‘filler’ segment of the show.

National Britain in Bloom Gold Award

 

Lucy Halliday, Head Gardener, Clovelly Court Gardens

The big news of the week has certainly been our wonderful surprise at receiving Gold in the Village category at the National Britain in Bloom awards. This puts the community of Clovelly and its horticultural exploits among the top four of the top ten villages. Given that Bloom is the largest community gardening competition in the U.K., this is a fantastic result and a great celebration of the efforts of the Clovelly Gardening Group, volunteers, villagers and Gardens team.

Part of the publicity surrounding the Bloom celebrations has been the RHS’ commendation to gardeners for dealing with what they describe as ‘the toughest weather conditions for growing in the last 54 yrs’.

Weather extremes, be they cold, hot, stormy or wet, have certainly been a topic of discussion in the Court Gardens since the new team started in March. We are currently experiencing such a mild wet autumn. Hence we have a crunch point between the still growing weeds and the start of clearing fallen leaves and finished crops. This week has seen a big push to tackle weeds before our focus must turn to strimming, mulching lifting dahlias and planting spring flowering bulbs, overwintering onions and garlic in November.

Transitioning the gardens to totally organic management means that we are moving through a period where weeds can seem a real issue. The decision to keep glyphosate spraying out of the garden walls is the right choice for wildlife, locals and visitors who eat our produce and for the wider environment. Yet this change is not always easy and weather plays a big part. As we get the garden into an organic rhythm over the next few years where hoeing and mulching can prevent the spread of weed seed, the management of these ‘plants in the wrong place’ should get easier. We are devoting as much labour as possible at present to keep weeds down and improve presentation.

Composting is also a corner stone of organic gardening.  This week we teamed up with one of our local estate farmers in turning our compost and manure heaps. Regular turning speeds improves decomposition for better compost, faster. While disposing of debris we also cleared much storm damaged material and will have a good deal of bonfire material to deal with in the coming weeks.

With the final pears picked, we are really into autumn cropping but still harvesting leeks, tomatoes, squash, parsley, beetroot, chard, spinach, lettuce and more.

24-October – Apple Day! We manned a stall of Gardens produce including over a dozen different apple varieties and our freshly pressed Apple juice. In fact by the time we have finished we will have pressed over 1,500 kilos of apples. The total harvest for the gardens this year has been, at a conservative estimate, in the region of 2,000 kilos. We certainly have some things to thank the weather for!

Clovelly Apple Day

Apple Day

October 24th 2018 is Apple Season – so we are holding our Apple Day with lots of lovely apple crafts and activities. On arrival at Clovelly you will see apple pressing by Gatcombe valley Juices outside the Visitor Centre, so please do bring a bag of apples, watch them being pressed and taste the fresh juice or if you wish, you can bring more for pasteurisation and bottling for which there will be a charge (£1.90 per 75 cl bottle).

On entry to Clovelly (free for children under 7 years old), you will find the Apple crafts and activities in the Visitor Centre from 12:00-17:00. The round shape of the apple with the great reds and greens makes the apple a perfect base for creating art. So enjoy some Apple Art with The Plough and either carve, sculpt, decorate or do all of them with your apple.

There will also be live music, apple bobbing, apple stamping and making corn dollies.

Isabella Necessity on her Story Bicycle will also be visiting Clovelly Apple Day to tell stories of her orchard escapades and share snippets of apple folklore. Isabella is a bicycling botanist who loves to share stories from her incredible journeys around the world with the people she meets along the way. Isabella has flown with the blue butterflies of Brazil in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, outwitted trolls in the fjords of Norway, learnt Kung-Fu on the Mountain of Kunyu and rested in a robin’s nest on Dartmoor. With delightful storytelling, gorgeous illustrations, unexpected wonders and a handsome Story Bicycle called Dilys, Isabella will whisk you away to another world.

Added this year will be a small farmers market, including a pick of pumpkins, vegetables, herbs, meat, and cider amongst other stalls. Merry Harriers Garden Centre will also have some of their interesting products on display. The WI will be hosting our first Apple Pie/Crumble competition as well as selling homemade cakes.

At 13:00pm families can take part in a fun Harvest Hunt with the Clovelly tour guide, Jana Edwards, who will take you down and around the craft yard and Mount Pleasant, telling spooky stories and looking for clues to win a harvest treat, finishing back at the visitor centre. Please book your place on arrival as spaces are limited.

Apple pressing: 11:00-13:00, Apple day activities: 12:00 – 16:00; Harvest Hunt 13:00-14:30.

Please note that you can travel by bus from Barnstaple and Bideford to Clovelly. Click on HERE for the Stagecoach South West timetable.

South West in Bloom Gold Award

South West in Bloom Gold Award.  On 4th October there was the highlight of the Regional Britain in Bloom awards in Yeovil.  Clovelly Community Gardening Group was proud to receive Gold in the Champion of Champions category.

Lucy Halliday, Head Gardener, Clovelly Court Gardens


The gardens team are over the moon about their contribution to this.  And so pleased that our closer collaboration with the Clovelly Community Gardening Group and lovely villagers has supported Clovelly in blooming this year. Planning has already begun in earnest this week for the Bloom activities throughout 2019 with hopes to fill the Clovelly year and its wonderful community with plenty more horticultural highlights.

Detailed work

Work has also begun on documenting the herbaceous borders in the lower walled garden in order to reinvigorate these in 2019. A scale drawing is being constructed to allow winter planning which will culminate in the first section being overhauled in spring. This gives some great plant identification practice for the team.

We have been honing up our machinery health and safety and maintenance skills too with a special workshop to support staff in making the best of our equipment. Our mowers have been busy as such a mild damp autumn is generating growth all around the gardens, more reminiscent of spring. Our sugar snap peas have put on an extra growth spurt instead of slowing down. However, most summer crops are completing their life cycles, even if the weeds are not.

This is a bountiful time of year still and we’ve had the enormous pleasure of bringing in the rest of our squash harvest to display while the skins cure for storage on the original Messenger glasshouse tables. It’s quite a sight, created by two of our fabulous volunteers. Pumpkins are being reserved for the village children.

Clovelly Court Gardens   

During a week where autumn harvesting is the main theme, we have juice pressing scheduled to dovetail neatly after the harvest.  So there’s been a big push to get all the picking completed now that the great summer pruning effort is complete. We owe a massive debt of thanks to three of our volunteers, a Clovelly family, who have worked tirelessly for 5 days straight to help undertake and coordinate the picking with myself and the team.

We are now ready for pressing and are really excited about our upcoming Apple Day on the 24th October.

Clovelly Court Gardens. Lucy Halliday, Head Gardener

Clovelly Court Gardens.  Well, what a turn around on the weather! From the hottest driest summer for years to a wet and windy few weeks for the start of autumn. Weeds are growing fast with the warm temperatures and sunny spells, which give us plenty to do.

Clearing the summer season crops has also begun, helped along by an extended spell of strong winds. The garden is beginning to change shape and colour such as the cucumbers and climbing beans coming down.  Open spaces appear again amid this summer’s foliage. This leads naturally to winter work as we start to plan mulching with well-rotted donkey manure, garden compost and leaf mould around the crop rotation beds.

There are plenty of seasonal highlights to enjoy, such as colour spreading across the sweet gum tree on Garden Cottage lawn. As the last few Crinum lilies fade they are replaced by the October joy of the Nerines. This late flowering favourite of the Victorians is certainly something we wish to propagate in the team. Even our Oca have burst into bloom, but subtle, as the autumn equinox signals them to start tuberizing. Flowering is a good trait in our Guild of Oca breeders trial varieties. It allows cross pollination from the best selections when these are returned to the next round of trials. We will collect any ripe seed pods we spot.

In the glasshouses we have finally found time in the wet weather to turn our attention to the splendid collection of pelargoniums. We have begun the work of repotting and propagating this hoard so that we may share it better with visitors next year.

Many crops are still giving a good harvest such as leeks, squashes, rainbow chard, pears, apples and beetroot. The tomato house is still producing at a steady rate and is now a cave of aromatic foliage. We’ve been able to supply some lovely produce for the dinner at the Clovelly Lectures this year as the Red Lion chefs created a menu around Court Gardens produce. Despite the issues with some of our summer brassicas in the drought our over wintering ones such as kales and purple sprouting broccoli are growing strongly.

Apple pruning work is now almost entirely completed after a frenzied fortnight with secateurs in hand. Some much neater trees and a good-looking apple crop are revealed as the result.  As our sights as gardeners begin to extend beyond the urgent immediacy of summer harvesting, autumn sown onion and garlic sets are ordered.  And we will gradually begin to prepare the garden for the meatier work of autumn over the next few weeks.

Clovelly Court Gardens      Clovelly Court Gardens

The Red Lion Winter Special Offer

Don’t miss out on reduced rates this year, with rooms from £150. Stay with us soon.

Call 01237 431237 or email stay@clovelly.co.uk.