• People in Helmsley Walled Garden

October 2018 – How come it just got busier?

Fennel and Orchid HouseI’ve just got back from two weeks holiday with a little garden visiting thrown in – I know, I know it sounds like a busman’s holiday and in a way it is. But, and it is a big but, getting out and seeing what other people do in their gardens is both interesting and informative. It’s a bit like being shown round other people’s houses in that there is always something you can learn. Even if the décor is not to your taste there is always something as in what they’ve done with that difficult corner, or how they’ve brought light into that room.

It works exactly the same with gardening. Going to another visitor attraction helps me to gauge how we are doing, what else we might be doing and is there an idea maybe that we can take and develop to make it work for us. I then talk with Lisa, our head gardener and together we start to build ideas for the next stage of garden development.

So, filled with ideas I returned to work this morning. But of course, I have been away for two weeks and the list of things I have to do has doubled before I can so much as blink! The Physic Garden and the Garden of Contemplation have not stayed still whilst I’ve been away and there is now a green carpet of weed seedlings that need my urgent attention. The dahlias in the Hot Border have been hit by an early frost (hmm, note to self, it’s a bit early for frost damage. Does this mean a hard winter?) and I need to go down the border and cut back the frost-damaged stems and leaves.

We are still furiously apple picking and pruning. I need to walk round the Clematis Garden with Lisa as we are planting a lot of bulbs in there as part of our new winter display and they need to go in VERY soon. We will be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday up to the end of December this year so keeping things colourful, even in the muted tones of winter, is important. I need to produce the apple facts trail and the apple quiz for children this week as Apple Day is coming up fast on Saturday 20th.

So lots happening and the air is getting chillier. I do love this time of year even though it means that summer is over and winter and (eek) Christmas is coming. But the smell of autumn is one of my favourites and I need to remember to stand still and enjoy it. The days can be so warm (I wished I’d packed shorts for Northumberland last week!) but the finger of frost is never far from morning and evening.

So if you do one thing for your garden this week, get some bulbs for next spring. Even a few snowdrops, crocuses or some winter aconites will cheer a winter garden and remind you that spring is not too far off. Treat yourself and enjoy your garden.

Tricia Harris October 2018