On the ground

As we start to bring the garden to life we’ll be documenting the progress Claire, Alex, Charlotte and Trevor are making over the next few years.

Thanks to Annie Guilfoyle, Martin Ogle and Patrick Clarke for their continued support and expertise.

Scroll through our journey so far.

The addition of the beautiful copper lights left us with some unpleasant electrical cabling in the original Mawson rockery. Charlotte and Alex did a fantastic job moving in stones and positioning them to look as if they’ve always been there, masking these cables. The lower sections were completely overwhelmed by ferns too, which offered an additional challenge. Most were removed but some were re-positioned to poke out from behind rocks, and the smaller, more delicate plants moved into the new planting pockets created. We have grand plans for this area – watch this space!

– Claire

Our yew (Taxus baccata) topiary pyramids have been bearing the brunt of the season’s gale force winds and it was clear they needed some additional support. Here Trevor and I are, taking turns hammering in the platypus anchoring system. This is a discreet, underground system for stabilising our mature root ball specimens, removing the need for any unsightly overground staking – let the focus be the beautiful planting!

– Claire

February is here and the Edgeworthia chrysantha has finally decided to grace us with its beautiful, elaborate flowers. Over this month we will see these unfurl further and reveal a half globe of star shaped flowers.

– Alex

In an effort to help and encourage wildlife within the garden, we have installed a number of bird feeders in two sheltered locations. Here you can see 4 Long Tailed Tits on one feeder (spot the fourth bird’s tail poking out from behind the feeder).

This initiative has been spearheaded by fellow gardener Trevor, who has a background in wildlife conservation, and a wealth of knowledge for all things avian (Spot Trevor in the second photo).

We have also taken part in the RSPB’s 45th Big Garden Birdwatch and recorded the results of an hour of birdwatching…

9 Blue Tit
5 Great Tit
3 Coal Tit
2 Chaff Finch
1 Green Finch
2 Gold Finch
2 Bull Finch
1 Nut Hatcher
2 Robin
1 Dunnock
1 Great Speckled Woodpecker
3 Black birds
2 Crow
1 Goldcrest

– Alex

As we battle the elements in this exposed garden, we find many challenges, and plenty of damage.

Here we have Camellia ‘Mars’, its new flowers emerging. However some have succumbed to frost damage, leaving them misshapen and brown. Another example of the extreme weather this garden faces.

– Alex

Whilst clearing out the Bothy, we managed to find a great bit of history from the gardens heyday – a plaque in commemoration of a record high for lake Windermere.

This dates back to around the time that the Thomas Mawson designs were being laid out.

Now we just need to do a bit of research and find out where it was originally placed (Keep an eye out for it on future visits to the garden).

– Alex

The snow and ice of January put a stop to our regular gardening duties. However this gave us an opportunity to take refuge in the “bothy”, which has been in desperate need of a renovation.

With years worth of spiders webs removed, and wooden frames built to hang all our tools (very satisfying) – we now have a garden shed to be proud of.

– Alex

As the freezing temperatures blanketed the garden in snow and ice, something caught our eye – In a shady area of the garden a solitary flower of the Camelia japonica ‘Mars’ stood out. As the month rolls on we should see the gradual unfurling flowers of of numerous Camellias, bringing a burst of colour to the entrance and roadside of the garden.

– Alex

On a sunny winter day – we can be found with our Tripod ladders, doing some structural pruning. In this case, the mature Wisteria Chinensis which adorns the terrace. It had seen better days, and was in need of a renovation – so we have removed any unproductive old stems, and cut back any unwanted long whips. All the time observing its overall shape.

It is a long process to bring it back to a nice framework, and create a more floriferous specimen. Luckily we can see new buds breaking on the older wood (Yay).

– Alex

The first of our Camellia flowers has finally opened. This variety is Camellia ‘Lulu Belle’ and has delicate, soft petals. You can find it welcoming guests on their arrival by the hotel entrance sign.

– Alex