Thursday, 7 February 2013

Winter jobs at Belvoir Castle

January and February is catch up time in the garden, so on an estate like Belvoir it is full steam ahead.  Workshops need cleaning out, mowers and strimmers need servicing, broken tools need replacing.  At The Castle sometimes finding the tools is the biggest challenge - when working on such a large scale it is so easy to leave a fork, hoe, or spade in a bed; unfortunately I am most guilty of this crime with my memory having more holes than a colander!  

Sorting out next years signs

Here we are in the rose garden - it doesn't look that cold but it was freezing - everyone doing windmills with their arms to get the circulation to their fingers.  How brave our volunteers are! 

Some of this garden is thrown into permanent shadow when the large trees grow their summer canopy and because of this moss collects on the flag stones.  So the volunteers set to scraping off by hand, the algae and moss - a very boring task but as you can see the end result looks like new.

With over 250 roses to prune, Martin and I were keen to get started.  As well as the rose garden there are numerous varieties also climbing around the castle walls.  I have just found out there is one rose, the beautiful double yellow Rosa banksiae which has been in situ for over a 100 years!  And yes it needs some very careful pruning - it is probably 25' high and 40' across - luckily it is thornless.

And sometimes the cold gets a bit much...

Martin encouraging the work force!!

Thank goodness the sun came out..

Peto's Grotto

Here is a handsome old feature built at the beginning of the 1900's.  (designed by Harold Peto)  Originally there were some lovely wooden steps up the side of the grotto which have long since fallen into disrepair.  So now all the team are researching the possibilities of restoring this building to its former glory. 

And finally the strong winds have taken some causalities - this lovely variegated holly has fallen in the rose garden, bringing down with it half the yew tree.   On one of the outside walks another beautiful conifer has fallen.