What a summer it was. It started slowly, damp and cool but developing into a lovely long  warm season. I can only remember 3 or 4 really wet days. And coming, as I do, from the West of Scotland, it has been amazing. What a blessing!

 For my first summer here at Reveley Lodge, the weather has afforded me a great chance to spend a lot of my time out of doors, working in the borders and beds, cutting the grass and getting to know the garden a bit better. I have moved garden several times over the past years and have come to learn that it doesn’t matter how brimming over I am with ideas, you need to be patient! It takes a full year for a gardener to just start to get to know a new garden. Learning the different soil types in the various beds, where it’s windy, what is the hottest area of the garden and so on . . .

 I am very thankful to Nick, who retired earlier in the summer, for all his patience and humour as he handed over the gardens to me. The garden at Reveley Lodge has some great structural ideas and some wonderful plants, it’s quite an inheritances to take over. It is a big responsibility to take over someone else’s work, when they have worked so long and hard at developing something wonderful.

 I started at the beginning of July and the months have flown by and now we are in November. Part of taking over a new garden includes asking questions like “Where do you find…?”, “Who do you ask…?” or “What’s the chances of…?”. And so I would like to say a big thank you to all those who have been so patient with me as I have been learning.

 Perhaps one of the highlights of the Reveley garden’s year has been the successful National Guard scheme Day in August. All of the volunteers and trustees worked tirelessly to help to make it a great day. And thankfully the weather lent us a helping hand too, as it was a beautiful sunny day. Many people enjoyed the gardens and helped raise funds for the different charities and met and made new friends that day.

The Hedge backing onto the secret garden and bee hives

As you can imagine all large gardens have ongoing projects and challenges. One tall challenge for me has been the high hedge belonging to the Secret Garden. Behind the hedge lies the bee hives. We had the job of significantly lowering the high hedge this summer as sadly last winter three of the four swarms were lost due to the cold. It seems the high hedges had kept out the essential warmth of the low winter sun which helps keep the bees  alive over the cold season. Now the job is done, you will see the hedge is looking a bit sad at the moment but that’s okay as it should bounce back soon.

 Another challenge has been the pernicious problem of ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria) which has been running through the two Clay Lane flower beds. The main problem with Ground Elder is it chokes out the other plants in that area. So if you can forgive the pun, we decided to grasp the nettle and deal with one of the beds.

 This involved digging out as many good plants as possible and putting them into a stock bed. Firstly the plants were removed then the roots were washed clean and inspected, removing all of the ground elder roots which were mixed in with the good roots. Then we transferred the plants to the stock bed to rest and be watched to see if any cheeky wee roots of the elder have been missed and pop their heads up again! Only after this can they be put back into the main garden next year. We’ll have to wait and see if this will be an ongoing project or not! Again without the help of the volunteers it couldn’t be done. Thanks folks.

What lies ahead for the next season? A lot of leaf lifting from the lawns . . . and of course planning for next year. Whatever you are up to today enjoy your garden…

Rory’s Blog

28 November 2016