The Award-Winning Gardens in Winter

 

The Tearoom and Gardens are now open for 2020, and we look forward to welcoming visitors back to Dalemain, to see what we’ve been up to.

During the Autumn we have been very busy sorting out the borders and putting everything to bed.  The tree ferns are in their ghostly garb and we have been putting very good farmyard muck on the borders. But with Spring just around the corner, it is amazing even in these damp cold days how plants are beginning to emerge from their dark seclusion. The aconitum napellus gives little flashes of spiky bright green leaves and there are little flowers on the primula Easter bonnet.  These were given to me by a dear friend and neighbour Caroline and we have planted them around the Cynara cardunculus. The violet colour is so pretty against the grey ferny fronds of the artichoke. It gives such good value all through the winter months.

Surprisingly the aconites and snowdrops are late, but they are now beginning to come into their full delight.  I can normally pick some for Christmas day, however they were here to see in the New Year.

The top garden

All of our apple trees have had an excellent prune, overseen by Hilary. We have also built three new places to sit and relax on the Rose Walk, which is the steep path up the garden.  I have always felt that it was quite a haul and that often people wanted to stop and enjoy the roses! There are now plenty more places to sit and do this.  They have been built with beautiful ancient sandstone edges, a signature style of the garden. Some of these we are finding buried deep down in the border where they have descended over the centuries.

But it is at the top of the garden that you will see the most change with the beginning of a new garden on the lawn!  Before the rains descended, we managed to get a digger up there to start the work. However, since then it has been too wet and we have not been able to get back.  What is very interesting is to see that only a yard down there is clay! This explains why the lawn was always soggy.  So, as with many plans there is now a domino effect. We will have to put in more drainage, which should be ready for Easter.  Meanwhile it is a glorious mud bath!

Wildlife in the gardens

Our plan for this new part of the garden is to plant many scented and white plants and create more places to sit to enjoy the garden. Everyone will be able to spend time sitting and listening to the birds. We have over 30 different birds in the garden which are a joy. Of course we also have red squirrels that are out and about on some of these warmer days.

Meanwhile our bees are very quiet but I am assured that they are happy. On one of the milder days last week they were seen venturing forth.  They live in the kitchen garden and arrived in the Autumn. It is such a joy to know that they are back and working in the garden.

I always think it is very important to remember that half a teaspoon of honey is the equivalent of a bee’s life – a sobering thought,

We hope that you will enjoy looking at the work in progress. I hope you will also enjoy seeing all the snowdrops which are particularly spectacular as they cascade down the bank in the low garden.

If, once you have visited the garden, you were interested in becoming a Volunteer gardener please feel free to leave your contact details with the Tearoom, so we can get in touch with you.  This garden thrives on the love and care of many people who we are lucky enough to have working here, but we always welcome more help.

– Jane Hasell-McCosh

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We look forward to welcoming you to Dalemain!