The last few days up here have been nice enough to get out into the garden for a few hours each day, almost the first time since the end of November, which if you remember was the monsoon-like predeccessor to the Siberian winter that followed. Our Kitchen Garden here is undergoing a few changes as we grow more and more vegetables in quantity in the Paddies down the track, and as we (veryreluctantly) give up on the asparagus that we planted in 2006, the first thing in the Kitchen Garden to go in. It's never thrived and - as a coastal plant - you can guess why up here in the wilds. So that bed will end up as Asian vegetables this year. Some ongoing drainage issues in the fruit bed have caused us to discard our summer raspberries in favour of just keeping the autumn ones, and the eBay chicken wire we used on the fruit cage has to be replaced asap before the birds get in there and eat the fruit buds.....
Worried about whether the 2 borrowed ponies were going hungry under the 18" of snow, here's Adam throwing them the tops of the Christmas brussel sprouts.
.....but inside Lawson Park it's spring, thanks to that new-fangled underfloor heating.
The GA Xmas Party on Friday went with a swing, we welcomed interns Ellie, Matt and Sophie back and combined the celebrations with Adam Sutherland's 51st birthday!
Thanks to Lisa & Sally we have two Exmoor ponies on our
wildflower meadow, eating up all the old grass and flower stems
over the coming weeks.
Our meadow is too steep and wet to cut with machinery, and though we had a fair bit of fun strimming it en masse a few years ago, we managed to cut just about a third in 4 days! You soon realise that the 'wildest' bit of your garden could easily be the most high-maintenance if you do as the books say - which is generally one or two cuts a year with all the debris removed to minimise soil improvement (the enemy of the wildflower).
The Cumbria Wildlife Trust gave us some management advice recently which stated that occasional grazing could be an acceptable way of keeping the grasses in check, and as ours is a late-flowering meadow this is the time of year to do it.
Just got to remember to poop scoop regularly!
We are still eating every day from the garden - and picking cut flowers including May-sown sweet peas, scabious and rudbeckia 'Marmalade'. Vegetables still going strong include runner beans, mangetout, broccoli, courgettes (outside and in tunnel) and tomatoes.
...but spurred on by the patient NGS we announce next year's
National Garden Scheme Open Day here at Lawson
Park - It's Sunday July 18th 2010,
Get it in your diary now....
Much to modest to blog it himself, here is Adam with Lawson Park's first prize winner - a red cabbage grown here in the Paddies, that trounced the competition at the recent Coniston and Torver Garden Club Annual Show.
Other successes included green chillis, herbs, runner beans and a cucumber. Sadly our interns' entries (a Battenburg cake in GA colours and a 'landscape' photo) went down rather poorly with the judges. But we love them anyway...
Throughout the afternoon we served up Toge soup, kimchee and sauerkraut all made from this cabbage's cousins to Show visitors, and it was a great success.
The Director of Tate pictured here with local dignitaries at our opening on July 10th.
Apologies for an extended blog hiatus due to various webby issues plus the distractions of a final massive push on finishing the Lawson Park buildings - but as if by magic (not) the new Grizedale Arts HQ at Lawson Park was opened to the public on June 25th 09, with an opening speech from broadcaster and Cumbria Tourism Chair Eric Robson.