Clovelly Court Gardens. Lucy Halliday, Head Gardener
July. SW in Bloom
Wow! What a week. A huge amount of preparation went into this past week, culminating in the visit on Friday from the Britain in Bloom regional judges along with the BBC 2 film crew. I am so proud how well the gardens team and Clovelly Community Gardening Group pulled together. And how phenomenally hard everyone worked. It is an honour to be part of such a team.
Paths were painstakingly weeded, beds hoed, turf edges put straight. Weeds were carefully removed from the borders and deadheads were snipped off. All this besides the daily tasks of harvesting, pruning and training. Extra watering was required to keep the garden surviving this drought.
It was certain pressure, but I took the decision to put the summer fruit pruning on hold for a week. We are now enjoying making the garden something ship-shape as we would like to have it all the time.
The judges feedback was very positive. It was a pleasure to show around two such knowledgeable and pleasant people. They were very complimentary about our organic, minimal tillage approach; our wide diversity of heritage and organic varieties; our efforts to involve the community and the quality of our produce, despite the difficulties this season.
Judge, Jon Wheatley, highlighted the suitability of our approach to ‘dust mulching’, crop watering and turf care during the tricky hot weather. Plus our work to convert pest and disease management in the gardens to organic methods. It was fantastic to see both judges tuck into one of our juicy cucumbers!
As for other news it’s been wonderful to see lots of produce leaving the gardens with happy visitors and villagers this week. We have had masses of courgettes and climbing beans flying off our stall. Basil and currants are ever popular. As the very first tomatoes ripen, we gear up to spend more and more time harvesting and caring for the delicious crops. It feels as though the positive atmosphere we are aiming to create around the gardens is spreading. It has been a pleasure to help answer the many horticultural questions of locals who have come to seek advice for their gardens. I am very hopeful that the garden can again find its feet – and with time, a new place in the Clovelly community and a really strong standard of horticulture. This week has certainly been one to celebrate the achievements of the past four months.
Here’s to the next four and the National Bloom judging on the 6th!