Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Running of the Bulls (and the ruining of the bulbs)...


We arrived back from the UK in the wee small hours of Saturday morning. After the excruciating 29 hour journey from London (where the weather had been great for the most of our trip - some lovely posts to come), we got back to find that the cattle (and horses) had broken through their fencing and had rampaged through the park devasting many of the trees and the landscaping. 12 mops of Weeping Willow reduced to mangled broomsticks, all of our Horse Chestnuts eaten to the ground, and bulbs ripped out of the ground by the stems never to flower again!

I would have wept over the lost hours it took us to plant all the trees, the sheer cost of the damage, and the 2 years or so that it will take for the less damaged trees to get back to where they were before we went away - if it were not for being so thankful that our family and friends looking after Willowbrook in our absence had managed to protect the majority of the park from destruction.

We also arrived home to find that our Nanny goat, Bramble, had died while we were away, of unknown causes.

So, glad to be home again. More work to do (remedial now as well as planned), and this with my exams and the Christmas season looming. I guess Peter will be a busy boy....

Friday, October 7, 2011

Spring is Here...


As promised, here are some parting photos of Spring at Willowbrook. Peter and I are off to the UK for the month of October on an R&D Holiday, and have been asked to go to Rome to take the wedding of one of our close friends.

We shall probably share a few holiday posts whilst in Europe. Till then, I hope you enjoy the fruits of our labour as much as we do.

We will start with pictures of the park, and then some of the farm...



Above: The still bare Plane trees under planted with bulbs along either side of where the main drive will pass. The 2 urns in the background mark the entrance to the orchard.

Above: The Orchard Hedge in Spring

Below: The same view 3 months ago


A closer look at some of the bulbs under the plane trees...








Above: A Flaming Parrot Tulip, which starts budding as below...


and slowly progresses...


to a flower of striking colours...



Below: The more demure tulip 'Christmas' planted in lines around the potager. I wait patiently for the buxus to grow and hide the wooden edging...



The fantastic green and pink tulip 'air', growing in raised pots around the potager- Great for arrangements...




The subtle tulip 'spring green'...


Now some before and after pictures from behind the lake...

Above: Willoughby helping Jackie plant the Leiladii hedge 18 months ago.

Below: The same area now.


This area has also been planted with oaks, under-planted with the red tulip 'London'...





These are the Princess Irene Tulips, growing in pots in the Orangery area in the Orchard...




Then there are the Rococo Tulips in the Nymphaeum...





And the Spring Green Tulips planted between each of the Lime Trees in the Lime Walk...




For the last 2 weeks it has been mainly overcast a drizzling with strong equinoxual winds. Not the greatest days for photography, but I did catch this rainbow over the farm on my phone (2 photos poorly joined together)...



More before and after photos of the farm...

Above: Then

Below: Now

Although the grass is short and brownish now, by mid October it is usually luscious and green again.

The Orchard is starting to green up and come into blossom too...



And the veges in the potager beds are coming along nicely...


One last photo to finish - our Indian Runner ducks going AWOL! They frequently go through the fence, waddle off down the road for an hour or two, and then come back to their lake. I have no idea where they go - sometimes they disappear althogether!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Water lilies...

Today, amidst an equinoctial thunderstorm, we potted up and submersed our waterlilies.


Above: Waterlily Peter Slocum

Thanks to the very helpful Sam Gamble at Waihi Water Lily Gardens we have sourced all the waterlilies for the lake and have settled upon the following choices...


Above: Carnea


Above: William Falconer

Below: James Brydon


Below: The very full flowered Gonnere


Below: The more delicate Hermine


Here are the contact details for the ever so helpful Sam at Waihi Waterlily Gardens...


He spent hours on the phone and by email getting to understand exactly what look we wanted to create, what colours and varieties were suited for us, and explaining how to plant and care for them.

Here is a very helpful and brief video clip of how to plant hardy waterlilies, courtesy of Silverthorpe Nursery.

video

Well now, I'm off to Bedfordshire after a grueling night shift in ED and a morning of getting saturated water-gardening in a storm. However, I am looking forward to sharing pictures of our Spring blooms from Willowbrook this Friday.

Please join us again then,
David.
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