Clovelly Court Gardens. Lucy Halliday, Head Gardener
I just had a lovely moment in the gardens:
A happy pair of hotel guests came strolling through the gardens. They stopped where I was harvesting by my crate of courgettes to ask about the yellow ones, as they did not know what they were. After enjoying the Lobster & Crab Feast at the weekend, they had eaten them at Zach’s BBQ on Sunday and described them as ‘lush’ as they had never had yellow courgettes! They absolutely loved the celebration of local food and the way that this told them a story about Clovelly’s unique attributes and its sustainability. To eat the food in the harbour then come and see it picked in the gardens made such a tangible statement to them. They laughed as it was like going back in time but in a contemporary way!
It really is starting to seem like summer is drawing to a close now. Although the nights have remained relatively warm, day length sensitive plants like the French beans are winding down their life cycle. Next week will be the last week for picking melons but we welcome the pear and Apple harvest in earnest. Even more regular produce deliveries are now arriving at the Red Lion and a lovely assortment of fruit and vegetables has been displayed at the visitor centre.
Pruning work on the extensive trained fruit collection continues. We are very pleased to tackle the last prune of the year in the peach house. These poor trees suffered badly with an almost catastrophic red spider mite infestation during the summer. But they have come through it just about intact, thanks to the biological controls we have been judiciously applying to manage the problem organically. This pruning treatment is going back to first principles, aiming to work with the biology and growth habits of the trees. It gives the best recovery as a summer of sparse foliage has drained the trees. Their recovery will continue in to next spring. This is at least providing a great learning opportunity for the team.
We’ve been lucky enough to welcome our 5th and 6th regular volunteers this week. Another local family who have even had their kids mucking to help during a fabulous afternoon hoeing. Once more we are hugely grateful to the villagers who are supporting the gardens new lease of life with their spare time and green fingers. Volunteer training this week has included propagation by soft wood and semi-ripe cuttings as we start to build slowly towards having plant sales up and running again next year. Staff and volunteers will be spending the last few weeks of warm enough weather propagating Clovelly favourites such as fuchsias. There’s so much late summer colour still brightening the garden. We’ve also propagated some of the stunning Hedychiums which are providing the gardens a star flower this week.