Mud, mud glorious mud!

There’s been so much rain in the last few days, our garden is turning into a mud bath every time anyone steps on it.

I was surprised that so many people still seem to enjoy singing this old standard.

But the football teams in this film clip take the mud experience to a whole new level.

While the little girl at the end of this clip seems to be in mud seventh heaven.

Thanks for visiting my blog today and hopefully by the time you’re reading this, the rain has stopped.

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Like a garden full of weeds

Lambing at Upton Magna near Shrewsbury in February 1956

Our gardens may be under threat

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Our gardens may be under threat

I saw this perturbing report on the BBC News website at the end of last year.

Gardens under threat from ‘game changing’ plant disease.

Apparently Xylella fastidiosa has caused widespread problems in Europe, wiping out entire olive groves. It can infect plants from lavender to cherry trees and is of real and growing concern in the UK. Experts at The Royal Horticultural Society say the disease could arrive in the UK on imported stock, threatening gardens.

Read more on the BBC website.

The government’s DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) website has more detailed information about Xylella fastidiosa.

Xylella fastidiosa is a bacterial disease with many sub species and strains not known to occur in the UK.

In mainland Europe, most notably France (Corsica and mainland France) and Italy there have been several outbreaks of different sub-species which have led to significant impacts on plants both in the wider environment and those grown commercially for olive production. In 2016 Xylella was detected in Spain for the first time on cherry trees in a nursery. Although EU regulated, there remains some concern about the risk of introduction to the UK via infected host plants imported as plants for planting considered to be the most likely pathway for entry. The disease is spread by insects that feed on the xylem fluid, that is the vessel of the plant which carries water. This includes the widespread and common meadow spittlebug, which is the principle insect spreading the disease in Italy and France.

Read more on the DEFRA website.

The National Farmer’s Union (NFU) are offering advice to members.

So far, we have had no recorded cases of Xylella in the UK. However, X.fastidiosa has been identified in Italy, southern France (including Corsica), Germany and now Spain (Majorca).

The NFU considers that:

Xylella has the potential to be a big threat to ornamental plant production in the UK if it reaches our shores.

Read more on the NFU website.

And the Forestry Commission

has produced a useful leaflet with some photos of Xylella fastidiosa and information about reporting any suspected cases.

The leaflet is at https://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/FCPH-XF.pdf/$FILE/FCPH-XF.pdf but  might not be accessible if your device can’t read pdf files.

Hopefully the eradication measures in Europe will be successful and Xylella fastidiosa will be consigned to the dustbin of gardening history.

Thanks for reading my blog today.

You might also like How will climate change affect your garden?

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Camellia Day update

Back in May, just five days before my health problems commenced, I promised an update after unwrapping my potted camellia from its winter fleece.

Now I’ve returned to 3sixtyfiveblog, here’s the update!

Absolutely disappointing.

Not a single further bloom appeared.

I downloaded the photo on this post from Pixabay but my own plant was virtually bare.

In autumn last year it took me ages to wrap the plant in its winter fleece. Not helped by trying to cocoon it on a rather breezy day! I used a whole bag of washing line pegs to keep the fleece in place plus half a ball of garden string. And some very expensive fleece from the local garden centre.

All to no avail!

Needless to say, it won’t be happening this year. The plant can take its chances with the rest of our shrubs, bushes and pot plants. Since I’ve been having chemotherapy, I’ve had to pass all gardening jobs over to my husband, Michael. He says the best part of gardening is when you’ve finished! He’s handy with the strimmer and doesn’t really differentiate between the plants that are supposed to be in the garden and those that are unwelcome. Several of last year’s perennials have gone the same way as the entwining bindweed, burgeoning buttercups and stinging nettles which took over much of the garden when neither of us had any interest in it. I’m happy to have wild flowers in the garden but not when the most robust dominate and take over. We had a fine crop of four foot high thistles this summer which were starkly dramatic but challenging to remove.

I doubt that we’ll see any flowers on the camellia next year. The buds seem to be so susceptible to frost damage but who knows? I hope I’ll be able to let you know!

Thanks for reading my blog today and hope you’re having a great day.

You might also like September Song on my Cabbage and Semolina Blog.

 

How will climate change affect your garden?

Although I’ve read a great deal about climate change

and worry about it a lot,

I’ve never given any particular thought as to how climate change will affect our garden.

I live in a chalky area where the soil drains quickly even after the heaviest of downpours. I haven’t planted anything very delicate apart from my potted camellia. I’m just as happy for wild flowers to live in our little space  alongside anything we’ve planted there.

But a few days ago I read an article which raised the question for me.

Climate change could transform gardens says BBC Science editor, David Shukman.

Shukman reports on 90 year old Jean Combes. She’s been keeping records of the dates when certain trees in her locality come into bud. She’s recorded this for over fifty years and she’s found that the trees at her Surrey home burst into leaf about three weeks earlier than they did in 1960.

The city of Northampton, Shukman explains,

is right on the divide between two distinct climate zones. Residents of the north of the city find that their lawns don’t need cutting as frequently as those who live in the south of Northampton. It’s been like this for decades but now the more northerly residents are finding they need to cut the grass much more in early Spring and late Autumn.

In some areas excess rain is causing huge problems for gardeners

while in other areas reduced water is creating just as many difficulties. Increasingly violent, stormy weather can be devastating and an excess of strong winds is highly problematic.

The director of the Harlow Carr Gardens in Harrogate, Paul Cook,

told Shukman that it was more and more important to keep watch on the highly changeable weather conditions. “My biggest worry,” says Cook, “is that these major weather events do such a huge amount of damage to the garden.” However, he’s not completely pessimistic believing that there could be opportunities to grow a wider range of plants.

We’re not planning any great changes in our garden this year.

A neighbour has recently removed a giant double Leylandii which has transformed the garden by letting in so much more light. I just want to observe the effect this has on everything that’s already growing in our garden.

So far the greatest beneficiaries of the increased light levels are the dandelions which are in profusion at the moment. The lilac tree is more heavily laden with flowers than ever before, presumably because it’s now in direct sunshine instead of the Leylandii shade. It will be interesting to see what else grows stronger or proliferates as we move into summer.

Actually, we were delighted when the Leylandii was removed.

In high winds it lashed from side to side and we were anxious about our fate if one night we were sleeping and an extra gust of wind brought it down on top of the roof. But once we’ve become accustomed to the increased light levels, we’ll have to start thinking about what we need to do to cope with climate change in our garden too.

Thanks for visiting 3sixtyfive Blog and hope you find some other posts to interest you.

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More Golden Tickets!

A couple of years ago we bought annual tickets to Castle Howard (aka Brideshead).

The annual tickets cost about £60 each and offered unlimited access to the gardens and several free admissions to the House as well.

At the time a day ticket cost about £10 so we knew we would have to visit at least half a dozen times to make the layout on the annual tickets worthwhile.

The grounds at Castle Howard are really lovely.

There is so much to see and a great deal of variety as the Summer turns into Autumn. The rhododendrons are spectacular and the walled garden is a delight. Anyone who has watched the 1981 Brideshead Revisited TV adaptation will probably never forget Charles and Julia angsting at the fountain; or Sebastian and Charles learning how to enjoy red wine in the Temple of the Four Winds. These and many other examples of follies and statuary are in the grounds to enjoy along with the backdrop of the fabulous Vanburgh architecture.

We visited Castle Howard seven times during the course of the season

and enjoyed the experience each time. Castle Howard is about twenty five miles from where we live so it was a bit of a trek. There are some alternative routes to get there so we tried to build variety into the journey as well.

We became so hooked on Castle Howard that the following year we bought annual tickets again and didn’t find any difficulty in getting value for the cash. It was lovely to know what the highlights of the garden were and ensure that we didn’t miss any. In addition we were able to visit the nearby Arboretum several times as that was included in the price as well.

We didn’t bother with the House too much; just one tour round each year. Although one year we paid extra to go round the House at Christmas and enjoyed the decorations and atmosphere.

After two years we decided not to re-new the annual tickets.

We easily managed value for money the second year but didn’t think we would make so many visits for a further year. However several years have elapsed since we last visited Castle Howard and we’ll probably go again this summer. Interestingly the annual tickets are now slightly cheaper than they were when we had them. There is now a Gold and a Silver ticket: gold tickets get more social events it seems. There are full details on the Castle Howard website if you’re interested.

This year we’ve already renewed our Gold Tickets for Sledmere House and Gardens.

The annual ticket offers unlimited access to both the House and the grounds. It costs £15.50 (with a reduction for oldies) and it’s worth every penny.

There’s a lovely walk at Sledmere around the perimeter of the grounds. You park opposite the village school and look for the notice telling you about the walk. The path runs alongside the deer park which usually has a large herd grazing in the parkland. There are some stunning views of Sledmere House and the beautiful Wolds landscape in which it’s situated.

Eventually the path reaches some high stiles: well above head height and not for the faint-hearted. If you get over this obstacle you’re walking right across the deer park in front of the House. There’s another stile on the opposite side of the park and then a short walk back to where you’ve left the car. Or, you can walk the route in reverse, starting with the stiles. The walk is identified as a “permissive walk” by the Sledmere Estate. This means that you don’t have any rights to the walk but the owners of the property have made it available to the public. It’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area. There is no charge for the walk and afterwards you can get a good Yorkshire lunch at The Triton Inn or at the cafe next to the Farm Shop.

There are several memorials in Sledmere village of which The Waggoners’ Memorial is the most famous.

It was commissioned in 1919 by Sir Mark Sykes, the son of the owner of Sledmere Estate. It’s a rather bizarre monument as can be seen on the York Stories website. On the edge of the village is a replica Eleanor cross which Historic England explains was built originally as a village cross but adapted later as a war memorial.

Further away from Sledmere, on the road to Garton-on-the-Wolds is an amazing memorial to Sir Tatton Sykes built in 1865. The Grade II listed memorial tower is described in detail on the British Listed Buildings website and can be seen for miles around.

Back to the golden tickets!

I mentioned some lovely Yorkshire gardens the other day.

They all offer annual tickets of one form or another. None of them are such good value as Sledmere Gardens but they could be worth buying if you live near enough to go there regularly. Well worth checking out.

Burton Agnes Hall: Annual membership

Scampston: Annual membership

Sewerby Hall: Annual membership

Newby Hall: Season ticket 

Helmsley Walled Garden: Annual Membership

Another of our favourite places is Rievaulx Terrace.

This wonderful National Trust property in the North Yorkshire Moors is well worth a visit for the spectacular views of the ruined Rievaulx Abbey and the landscape around.

Rievaulx Abbey

When we  visited Rievaulx Terrace in the Spring we were thrilled with the profusion of wild flowers growing in the woods adjacent to the Terrace. A complete delight!

wild flowers

Thanks for visiting my blog today.

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It may be May Day for you but it’s Camellia Day for me!

It’s May Day: the day the fleece comes off my potted camellia.

IMG_0835

I’ve been hanging on

and waiting for any last vestiges of Spring frosts to disappear before risking the fleece’s removal.

I concede that my arrangement of the fleece is a little bizarre.

It took two packets of clothes pegs and half a ball of garden twine to get the camellia bagged up. There have been moments during winter storms when the fleece has billowed like old sails. But some judicious  re-pegging has kept the fleece in place since last October.

It’s bright and sunny. There’s only a slight breeze. The temperature is about 11 degrees.

Time to pick off the pegs.

Time to get out the scissors and cut the strings.

Time to unroll the bubble wrap round the pot.

camellia

And, yes, there are buds!

And even a couple of flowers already.

I’ve watered the camellia with some diluted ericaceous plant food.

Now, watch this space! I’ll let you know what happens.

camellia

Thanks for visiting 3sixtyfive Blog and hope you’re enjoying a great Bank Holiday Monday.

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Our golden tickets!

About a month ago we renewed our annual tickets for Sledmere House and Gardens in East Yorkshire.

The Gold Card costs £15.50 and can be used as many times as you wish during the season.

Excellent value for money: these really are golden tickets!

It was lovely to see the gardens all cleared and tidy ready for the new season.

Sledmere HouseWhen we visited again a couple of weeks later, the daffodils were fully out and looked spectacular.

Sledmere House

And the blossom was beautiful.

Sledmere House

We didn’t manage to get to the Primrose Ramble but we’ll be visiting again soon and lots more times during the year.

Our golden tickets are going to be worth every penny!

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‘Ne’er cast a clout till May be out’.

My camellia is still swathed in sheets of fleece.

I’m waiting for the early morning frosts to end.

Last year I removed the fleece too soon and none of the buds flowered.

The previous year I kept the camellia wrapped in fleece until the end of April and there was a profusion of blooms. I counted over two hundred and the plant made a stunning display.

The weather forecast is none too specific about where late Spring frost is likely to occur so I’m erring on the side of caution.

And taking account of the old adage:

‘Ne’er cast a clout till May be out’.

I’ve always assumed that the saying refers to the month of May. Meaning May is out – the new month has begun.

In other words, don’t pack away your winter clothes until May 1st at the earliest.

But according to a BBC News Blog the reference is to May blossom: the blossom of the hawthorn hedgerows.

The Phrase Finder explains that the earliest known version of the rhyme dates from 1732 from a Dr. Thomas Fuller. Although it may have existed in word-of-mouth form well before that.

The same ambiguity is found in

April showers bring forth May flowers

which can also be read as either the month of May or as the May blossom of the hawthorn.

As it was Shakespeare’s birthday a couple of days ago it seems appropriate to quote Sonnet 18 although I’m more bothered about frost than rough winds.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Elyse Bruce of the Historically Speaking Blog has an 1855 version of the rhyme from the Whitby Gazette and some more fascinating information on the subject of May blossom.

What to do about the fleece on my camellia?

The May hawthorn blossom is already looking spectacular in the Yorkshire Wolds yet we had a sharp early morning frost this morning with a sprinkling of snow.

I’m sticking with my original understanding of the saying.

I’ll wait until the month of May has commenced and then remove the camellia’s winter clothes!

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Let’s take a look at gardens with mazes.

What can be more fun than trying to find your way out of a well planted maze?

This Countryfile Magazine

compiled a list of ten favourite mazes which shows what a great variety of designs there are.

Discover Britain

highlighted their favourite mazes in Lose Yourself in Britain’s Best Mazes.

We visited Burton Agnes Hall in East Yorkshire soon after the maze was planted in 1990.

Now the hedges are tall and dense and it’s great fun finding the centre and your way out again.

The Introduction to Mazes and Labyrinths website explains the fascination we have for mazes.

Many people feel the fascination of mazes, especially branching mazes where you can get lost, and there are myths and stories about them from Theseus to the modern day. When watching children (who usually run them rather than walking them!) it’s interesting that they rarely ‘cheat’ but follow the path to the centre, even if they could easily hop a wall and get there quicker.

In 15 Intricate Facts about Mazes

there’s a story of the largest corn maze ever created which was so huge visitors called the emergency services to help them find their way out!

And they helpfully explain the right hand rule for solving simple mazes.

In most simply constructed mazes, all of the walls are connected to the outer boundary of the maze—which means, trailing your hand along the wall when you start the maze will help you avoid getting lost in unconnected passageways.

We enjoyed visiting the maze at Hampton Court.

It was planted some time between 1689 and 1695 for William III and covers a third of an acre and with half a mile of paths. It’s possible that the current design replaced an earlier maze planted for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. Imagine all those Tudor ladies chasing around its intricate layout.

The Daily Telegraph includes the Hampton Court Maze in its list of Britain’s most mind-boggling mazes along with the maze at Chatsworth House which we visited several years ago.

The Chatsworth House Maze was designed in 1962 for the 11th Duke of Devonshire.  1,209 English yews were planted to create the Maze.

In 2011 we visited Blenheim Palace for a day out.

This magnificent World Heritage Site needs more than just one day to see everything that’s on offer. The Marlborough Maze was opened in 1991. In addition to cannonballs, trumpets and flags  the maze also includes a V sign in honour of Winston Churchill, who was born at the palace. The head gardener, Hilary Wood, told The Guardian that it takes six people with hedge trimmers a week to prune the maze’s two miles of tapered yew hedges every October.

Somehow, we missed the maze when we visited Cliveden but it’s one of several National Trust Properties which maintains a maze along with a mass of secret doors, gardens and hiding holes.

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“That’s our famous maze. C’mon, let’s go and take a look.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Yorkshire Walled Gardens worth visiting.

I love walled gardens and each of these is worth a visit.

Sledmere House, Grounds and Gardens

http://www.sledmerehouse.com/

We visit Sledmere House, Grounds and Gardens regularly as we have annual Gold Tickets which gives free admission after the initial visit.

The walled garden is a delight and ever changing but this walkway is one of our favourites.

The walled garden at Sledmere House
Sledmere June 2015

Burton Agnes Hall

http://www.burtonagnes.com/

We made our first visit to Burton Agnes Hall in the mid-1980s and it’s been a pleasure to watch the garden develop over the years. There’s a maze in the northeast corner of the walled garden which was planted in 1990. We saw the maze for the first time shortly after it was planted with 700 yew bushes. It’s a pity we didn’t make a note of the layout because now the hedges are so thick, once you’re in it’s hard to find your way out.

Burton Agnes Hall and Gardens
Burton Agnes June 2014

Castle Howard

http://www.castlehoward.co.uk/

This photograph was taken during our first visit to Castle Howard in 2006. We’ve been back several times since and find new delights on each visit.

Castle Howard
Castle Howard August 2006

Sewerby Hall and Gardens

http://www.sewerbyhall.co.uk/

One of my most vivid childhood memories is seeing for the first time the monkey puzzle trees at Sewerby Hall. They’re still there; just taller! The walled garden at Sewerby Hall is a blaze of colour in the summer and the rose garden is bee-heaven.

Sewerby Hall
Sewerby Hall August 2013

Scampston

http://www.scampston.co.uk/

We’ve only visited Scampston on a couple of occasions, most recently in 2009. The garden is a stunningly beautiful contemporary garden designed by the renowned Dutch plantsman, Piet Oudolf. The garden opened to the public in 2005 and features a modern, perennial meadow planted alongside more traditional areas.

Scampston Hall
Scampston June 2009

I’m sure we’ll be visiting these beautiful walled gardens again soon. But there are so many other walled gardens in Yorkshire that we haven’t been to look at yet. Top of the list is the walled garden at Helmsley ; and the gardens at Newby Hall look fabulous too.

We visited Sledmere walled garden a few weeks ago. In the main grounds it was the height of the daffodil season and there were carpets of primroses under the trees.

The walled garden was cleared and ready for the new season. This is the same walkway as the first photograph in my blogpost; just from the opposite direction.

Sledmere House and Gardens
Sledmere March 2017

The vegetable garden was waiting to be planted:

Sledmere House and Gardens
Sledmere March 2017

And this path to the summer house will be a blaze of colour later in the year, I’m sure.

Sledmere House and Gardens
Sledmere March 2017

 

Sledmere House and Gardens
Sledmere August 2014

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