Landscape Letters Winter 2019

Dear Visitor

Over the last few months we have cleared a large amount of leaves from the meadow areas around the landscape garden . We start off by blowing them into lines then come along with the tractor and trailer and scoop them into the back, they are then transported to our compost areas to the rear of the Turkish Tent. Then we mix them up with the wood chip piles, turn the mixture every 4 months or so (to keep the rotting process going), and ‘hey presto’ after 12 months or so we have usable product for soil conditioning, mulching etc.

Apart from leaf clearance we have given the Vineyard its winter prune, pruning out the majority of this year’s growth ready for them to burst into life around late March early April depending on the weather (fingers crossed for no hard late frosts). We remove all the clippings from the Vineyard after pruning and burn them to minimise any disease spread onto this year’s grapes.
In addition, we have continued with cutting back of overgrown areas of the landscape garden to bring it more into line with Charles Hamilton’s intended design. The results of this cutting back often show as an immediate and harsh result. These “scars” will soften over the next few months and years eventually blending in as intended.

The snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are unfurling themselves and embracing the sunshine around the Landscape. Even on a dull, cold and wet day they brighten up the fabric of the Landscape with their cheery nodding heads. Snowdrops enjoy a rich and varied history that includes numerous legends about how the flower came to be. Most of them are about hope and re-birth, however, the Victorians felt that the snowdrop represented death. They even considered it bad luck to bring snowdrops inside the home.

Personally, they give us a sense that nature is starting to wake from slumbering for a few months and that the year’s cycle of growth is gearing up for 2019. Alongside the Snowdrops the Cyclamen (Cyclamineus hederifolium) are already flowering, the daffodils are pushing through and the Egyptian Geese are pairing up: they are telling everyone about it!

So why not pull on your wellies, grab your hat, pop on your winter coat and take a stroll around the 18th century landscape garden? Whilst on your walk take a moment or two to stop on route and digest this ‘living work of art’ which Charles Hamilton (1738-1773) created over 280 years ago and left for us to enjoy.

Best wishes
The Landscape Garden Team