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.