In the days of my extreme youth when people would say “ooh hasn’t the year gone by quickly” I was filled with scepticism and disbelief that these older people really knew what they were talking about. How could the year go by faster? All days and months are the same length every year? Reader, I hang my head and confess I now know exactly what those people in my past were talking about as this year has shot past faster than the speed of light.
We are into October and autumn and at the end of this month we close our doors to the public until next April. Not that the work stops; it just means we can dig up large areas to redevelop them without worrying about any unsightly mess.
Preparations for our winter work are now underway. I don’t want to let all our surprises out at once but I will say that those of you who have visited recently will have noticed the Iris Border taking shape on the East wall. We will also be giving the wild area a massive makeover. It has become so overgrown it does indeed resemble a truly wild place. But as such it doesn’t really belong in the garden so it will be completely dug over, leaving one or two shrubs and then replanted with British native wild flowers.
We will also be doing a lot of work on the Long Border with a new design drawn up by June, who in addition to being garden manager is also a fine garden designer. The new design is still under wraps but I can say that it will incorporate some unusual peonies as a tribute to Alison Ticehurst who started the whole restoration process of the garden back in the 1990s. Peonies were her favourite flower and it will be a wonderful way to remember what she did and what we all owe her.
But in the meantime things do not stand still, oh no. We will be having an autumn display in the Orchid House full of pumpkins, squashes and other vegetables, fruit and flowers harvested from the garden. Although whether we will have an old garden lush in this year’s display will be purely down to the creative skills of our volunteers! Terrible things happen when you put a gardener next to a gin bottle.
We celebrate all things apple on Saturday October 19th, our Apple Day. There will be apple-themed trails and puzzles for children, apple pressing and juicing displays alongside the chance to taste unusual varieties. There is the chance to learn more about pruning and training the apple trees in your garden with short workshops throughout the day. In addition there will be delicious apple-themed dishes to try in The Vine House Café. I’m hoping for Apple Cake which I love but never seem to get the time to make for myself.
Also in the Orchid House there will be a display of paintings, craft jewellery and other items created by the York Textile Group of artists alongside our own artist-in-residence Clare Carlile. This will start on the 19th and run for a week. I can hand on heart say that all their work is exquisite and if you looking to get ahead with some Christmas shopping it will be well worth a look.
Time does not stand still and I must go and open up the garden for visitors. The garden may be starting to prepare for its winter slumbers but it is still beautiful. Visit if you have the chance, we’d love to see you. In the meantime, enjoy your garden.
Tricia Harris October 2019