Instead of joining the hordes shuffling round nearby villages, Team Grizedale spent the Bank Holiday strimming and a-raking our 3 acre wildflower meadow. Or at least some of it....
Bank Holiday takings = £9.78
We just got accepted for the NGS open garden scheme! We first offered ourselves up a few years ago, but were scuppered by the dodgy access issues and -ahem- lack of hard landscaping on the site, making it all a bit hazardous for the typical NGS mature visitor!
This time however, the building works are on track so we plan to open late August 2008.
Meanwhile we have planted - exploiting the sodden August weather - our bog at last with a yellow colour scheme throughout: Primula bulleyana, primula sikkemensis and the splendid yellow and purple veined iris 'Holden Clough' with a few carex grasses and evergreen ferns intermingled.
Lawson Park Garden has just been accepted into the prestigious National Garden Scheme, or 'Yellow Book' as its called by those in the know. The scheme raises money for charity by opening mainly private gardens to the public, and usually offering teas and plant sales alongside. Grizedale sees its participation as part of its education and outreach work, communicating its overall aims to new audiences through the garden and land programme.
We haven't yet confirmed the open date but it's likely to be late August 2008.
Whilst the local NGS coordinator braved the sodden garden, George got on with the long-awaited planting up of the new bog garden. I joined him for the afternoon, at which point the general dampness turned into a steady downpour. However, though this may be nasty for humans, for the bog plants - Primulas, ferns and irises - it was perfect.
Though I've spent a fair amount of time in Japan in the last few years, I sadly didn't manage to meet any of the country's many highly skilled gardeners.
'Niwaki' by Jake Hobson (Timber Press) is thus a godsend for the gradual Japanification that is happening in the garden as much as in the kitchen here.
We have plans to place a Japanese Tea House in our meadow, and to form a bridge between it and the native plants all around I decided to prune some of the very characterful ancient hawthorn nearby in the 'Niwaki' style. Of course I forgot to take the 'Before' picture, but here is the 'After'. The process basically means pruning, tying down and staking trees to 'fake' a kind of premature aging, concentrating on encouraging horizontal growth, 'pads' of foliage, and opening up views into the bark and limbs of the specimen. With already ancient trees like this one, the process is a little easier and faster than it might be with, say, a new bonsai - which is more or less the same process but smaller.
No idea how these self-sown trees will take to this treatment, so watch this space for a 2008 report.
Sat 25th and Sun 26th August
Volunteer for a weekend of hand scything and stacking at Lawson Park's exceptional upland hay meadows in the Lake District, Cumbria. The meadows are a local bio diversity priority having a wide range of wild flowers, grasses and butterflies.
3 hearty meals and overnight camping offered.
Call 015394 41050 or e-mail email@example.com for more information or to volunteer.
The bounty of summer, these chantrelles are the big heavy kind particularly plentiful this year, who knows why?