Thursday, 7 June 2012

Belvoir Castle - April

April’s drought at Belvoir castle!

In spite of the pouring rain and the wettest April on record, progress at the castle continued.

The rockery was now in it's final stages and looking like a bog - as always time was against us so we had to press on.  The sides of the rockery were finished but the final plan incorporated some large steps down the centre to complete the view from the top of Spring gardens right down to the lake at the bottom.

We had three days to complete and the steps had turned into a waterfall.  With days of constant rain the steep slope became a quagmire, and maneuvering a large digger with over a ton of rocks in the bucket was precarious at best.    

With the gardens now open to the public, the clock was ticking and largely thanks to the skillful work of Mark (Digger maestro!) we managed to finish. 

The plan is to leave the rockery fallow for a year to clean out both annual and perennial weeds, and then plant up in the autumn/spring.

Thanks to the rain, the new tree planting in March benefitted enormously, with no casualties yet.  The terraces of peony’s in front of the root house are looking magnificent and lush, the only difficulty now is getting the lawn cut without losing the mower in a bog!

Belvoir’s logistical challenge!

May should hail the end of the frosts, so planting the pots was top of our list and with 24 dotted all over the gardens, there were plenty of plants to move.  

The formal gardens span over seven levels from the top of the castle to halfway down the hillside.  This makes the use of machinery limited, so everything is moved by hand and carrying barrows down steep narrow stairs.

This challenge also applies to all the lawns as many are on steep slopes and become impossible to care for in the wet weather.

Weddings are held at the castle all year round so in the summer the formal gardens need to look their best.  Two of our wonderful volunteers have kept the weeds at bay in the rose garden and it looks ready to burst into flower – come on sun…

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