The map of the Walled Garden, dated around the 1830’s, shows there were a number of rooms back then. In one of the top rooms on the left it looks like there was a little pond. If I had found this drawing before I started the present design I think I would have gone with this instead of the design inspired by my research.
There is a lot of work in keeping the beds of the orchard weed free. Luckily our annual French garden intern arrived last night so for the next two months we will be able to keep on top of the weeding throughout the Pleasure Grounds.
When we planted the orchard we were advised to put weed suppressing membrane on the ground. Unfortunately that has by now been exposed because it is a favourite haunt for the pheasants, who love to dust-bathe in the beds. This is what helps expose the membrane. The plastic fibres of this membrane is loved by the crows as bedding for their nests. So pheasant and crow in great harmony, but it is to the detriment of the beds.
Still, there is one room where we did not put the membrane down, mainly because we did not have any trees to plant at the time. These beds have now been planted with plums and are actually much easier to weed. Interestingly, these beds also has far fewer weeds. The only thing I can think of that is different is that we put our own compost on the membrane 5 years ago when we created this orchard. This is not actually a very bad sign because it means that for some years the weeds we have pulled out in all of the Pleasure Grounds have been put into our own compost! There are times when I feel there is not a little sabotage by those who are supposed to know better, but then again, have they actually worked out that pulled weeds carry seeds that can survive the heat of the compost heap? I’m not entirely sure. I have flagged it up again and again. I think I will have to keep do that.
The first job that Laura will be asked to do is to look at the plants that JT have ready for planting out in the Pergola and the various urns. She will then create a design and the two of them will do the planting of the Pergola together over the next couple of days. Then we’ll do the urns and after that they will start on planting out the vegetables that are ready and desperate to go into the soil. If last year’s intern Rachel is anything to go by we are in for a couple of month’s of intense activity and lots of fun.