This is my first post of 2016 and a great deal has happened since the last one. I took over from Jen as gardener-in-charge at Strawberry Hill House in January this year and have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the garden since then.
The main event in the garden so far has been a large amount of work on our trees. Will Harpur and his team worked on nearly twenty trees over several weeks. In most cases this simply involved taking out dead and broken branches. In some circumstances more serious work was needed and you can see the results around the garden. Sadly, the stone pine opposite the shop had to be taken down, although we have left approximately 5 metres of the main trunk. This stunning specimen tree had severe rot in the lower stem which made it dangerous and likely to fall in high winds. The stem that remains has been made safe and it means we can still see the beautiful bark. We are looking to replace the tree in another part of the garden.
It is a shame to remove mature trees completely for two
main reasons – it leaves big gaps where the trees once were and rotting trees make very good habitat for insects, microbes and other wildlife. We will be using the large amount of wood chip that has been produced around the garden as mulch and for paths. Some of the wood from the trees will be seasoned and sold as fire wood later in the year.
The garden volunteers have been tirelessly weeding and edging most of the spring, keeping the garden looking its best. This has been interspersed with making a cold frame for growing more plants from seed, dead hedging, mulching, removing ivy from fencing, putting posts and rope around our great cedar, cutting back shrubs and helping put the shell seat back in its rightful place.
My first five months flown by and have been anything but dull. I am looking forward to what the rest of the year brings us here at Strawberry Hill.
Kate Robinson, Gardener-in-charge, Strawberry Hill House