There ain’t nobody here but us chickens… thank you Louis Jordan

The Walled Garden was never really my personal Paradise, because I had to share it with a load of exhibition poultry. As you can see from the photo above, I took this from a helicopter, it did not make for a very beautiful area of my Paradise. The other problem was that the sound of hundreds of chickens doing what chickens do naturally, was to say the least noisy. They also attracted a lot of pheasants because of the feed they were given on a daily basis. Pheasants are very destructive in the walled garden. They dust-bathe in the Pergola beds and nibble at the shoots of things that are coming up. They also eat the budding growth on the fruit trees.  So before our new gardener, JR, arrives I decided the chickens had to go and as you can see they’ve gone!













We have also made a start on planting our lemon grove. This is an experiment prompted by the knowledge that the brilliant Chef Simon Rogan at L’enclume in Cartmel Cumbria no longer uses lemons because he can’t get British lemons. Now this is a scandal, we used to be able to grow lemons in the British Isles. They were, funnily enough, grown in our orangeries. Under our conservatory, we found this when we restored it, there was most certainly an orangery before. We could see the foundations for the 10 columns that held up the roof. So although climate change has not yet made it so warm that we can grow citrus unprotected I am fairly sure that if we wrap our lemons in fleece for the winter, they will survive. These are grown from seed by BD.


As you can see above there has been no time to tidy up after the chickens as yet, but for the first time in my 14 years in Northern Ireland, I can actually hear the birds sing when I am working!

That in itself is a bonus of considerable proportion for a Paradise. I wanted to say of biblical proportion, but it sounds a little too melodramatic. For me though, it is a blissful change to working in the Walled Garden.

Now we have to start thinking about what our soft fruit and vegetables beds should look like. Planning is always exciting and starting planning this with willing gardeners will be a particular joy.


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