Tuesday, 30 October 2012

5th Duchess of Rutland returns to Spring Gardens..

Two beautiful sunny days at Belvoir and we seemed to have moved mountains. 

As with most gardens at this time of year, the process of creating next year’s glory starts in earnest.  None of the existing plants at Belvoir have been split or divided for years, so with the addition of all the bulbs we ordered, there was a lot to do. Luckily the weeds have slowed down so Martin left the knapsack in the shed and joined the planting team of Andrew, Kerry and myself.

Our first port of call was the bottom private terrace.  This was planted with beautiful bearded irises, but over the years they have become crowded and muddled with other plants.  As with most perennials the irises needed splitting and dividing.  (Please note the best time to do this is after flowering – not the end of October! – but we are playing catch up at the moment and took a gamble).  We managed to get the whole terrace finished by the end of the day; no thanks to the swarms of midges who came in for the kill after lunchtime!

On our way home we went to check on the Spring Gardens only to find 5 burly builders struggling with an extremely heavy statue.  Around the pond underfoot the ground was treacherous, so there was no purchase for the team at all, but with a lot of grunting and groaning, and of course a little help from the gardeners, the statue was in place.  The 5th Duchess of Rutland returned to the Spring Gardens.

Elizabeth the 5th Duchess of Rutland was an extraordinary lady who in the early 1800s rebuilt the castle, ran the farm and estate, landscaped the gardens, and gave birth to 11 children.

In acknowledgment of her achievements the current Duchess has created a magnificent vista from the top of the Spring gardens, looking down over a large rockery, to a small lake where the 5th Duchess now resides.  ‘What a treat to be part of history’.

In many gardens splitting and dividing all the plants can be a bit of a shame as you inevitably end up throwing away the extras - today we managed to find homes for nearly all the overspill, how satisfying is that!

The last throws of autumn colours at Belvoir Castle

Sun catching a carpet of red leaves

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