Thursday, 10 April 2014

Rose Conference June 2014

Good afternoon to you all, the sun is shining and the gardens are looking stunning at the moment.

I would like to draw your attention to an up coming rose conference this June. This is being run by the Heritage Rose Foundation and will be taking place on the 23rd - 25th June. This is going to be quite a big deal for us here at Mottisfont as our Head Gardener, David Stone, will be retiring after the event. David has been the Head Gardener here for 36 years and has made the garden what it is today.

I would love to see some of you there even if it is only for one of the days, we have quite an exciting programme planned and I know you will have a great time. For more information please see!upcoming-events/cnop


Thursday, 6 February 2014

Back with a bump

I would like to start this post by once again saying a massive thank you to everyone that I met, stayed with and worked with whilst I was away. I wont name you all individually for fear of missing someone out, but you know who you are and I am forever grateful for all time that you gave me.

After circumnavigating the globe and flying well over 22,000 miles the time has come for me to get back into the groove here at Mottisfont. This is made harder by the fact that the UK seems to be getting all the rainfall for the entire northern hemisphere and there isn't much of a let up on the horizon. It really is causing us serious problems, however I will stop moaning about it because there are people who are in a much worse situation than us and I hope they will be able to rebuild their lives after the floods have receded.

The main job going on at the moment is rose pruning which will continue for many more weeks to come. We are currently working on the wall roses in the Central Garden, once these are complete we will move into the beds and make a start on the shrub roses.  I'm presuming that this is going to be quite a popular subject so I will do a separate post dedicated entirely to the pruning of roses.

I was quite looking forward to getting back to Mottisfont and having a good look round the whole estate as there had been a great deal of work going on whilst I was away. The countryside department had been dealing with the fallen trees and all the problems that are created when they come down. This has been a mammoth task and is still on going. Victoria who is our diploma student has been over seeing the renovation of the herbaceous borders and I returned to the garden to find that the team had done an incredible amount of work - all the plants lifted from the top two borders and the ground has been completely dug over in preparation for planting this spring. Well done team!! A happy coincidence is that I missed out on all the back breaking digging this year. What a shame!

Keep your eyes peeled for a pruning specific post soon.

Friday, 17 January 2014

New York, New York

So good they named it twice, according to Gerard Kenny. This was the final leg of my trip and I had a good feeling about what I was going to find there.... However, getting there in the first place was to be an adventure all on its own due to the adverse weather conditions. As a result of the snow fall my first two flight into JFK had been cancelled but I did manage to get there, even if it was 20 hours late!

I arrived at my hotel at about 1am after getting into what I would describe as a highly suspicious mini cab and nearly crashing into an ambulance. I have never been so pleased to collapse onto a bed in my entire life. I was exhausted.

Whilst in NYC I was lucky enough to spend some time working with Stephen Scaniello who is the president of the Heritage Rose Foundation (among many other things). One of the projects that Stephen has been instumental in is the Heritage Rose District of New York, it encompasses the area between West 122nd and West 163rd. In roughly the centre of this area is the Trinity Church Cemetary which is the final resting place of Mr Harison (of Harison's yellow rose) and Mr Boll who bred 'Madame Boll'.  As far as I'm aware this is the only rose district of its kind in the whole of the USA. If  you ever visit NYC then you can download a walking tour map and take yourself around the Heritage Rose District. 

Grave of Mr Harison

My time in New York was also taken up with the Cranford Rose Garden which is in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and is managed by the wonderful Sarah Owens. There is a great range of roses from ancient right up to modern in this garden and is a feast for the eyes at blooming time. Despite it being mid winter it was a feast for my eyes at this time of year as I could see the pruning and training methods and all the work that goes on over the winter. This was especially interesting to me as I like to compare what we do at Mottisfont with what others do, this way I can pick up tips or try slightly differing methods. I am constantly learning and never assume that the way I do things is the correct or best way.