Festivities and vegetables 

This week’s blog is by student gardener, Francesca Miles…

Our focus this week was on preparing for what proved to be a fantastic 25th anniversary celebration, which took place outside the mansion on Thursday. The stunning floral display on the stairs in the main hall was created by volunteers Mel and Rachel. 

Away from these preparations, we have harvested crops and prepared beds for sowing and planting in the Kitchen Garden. We were delighted to see so many visitors take home our potatoes and we now have a bumper crop of onions and garlic awaiting stringing in a ventilated barn. 

We are particularly pleased with the performance of ‘Sturon’ and ‘Pink Panther’ onions. Visitors who have shared their own difficulties with growing onions will be pleased to know that ‘Sturon’, like several other varieties sold in the UK, is resistant to bolting. 

Now we are turning our attention to late summer and autumn crops. Beetroot, squashes and brassicas are already planted. Alongside common leafy greens like kale and chard, we will be growing two leafy vegetables that are popular in Japan: red perilla, known in Japan as shiso, is traditionally used for pickling, while nutrient-dense Mizuna is used in stir fry, pickles and soups. The garden volunteers have planted a display of dahlias to add some interest to the beds while these new crops establish. 

Midsummer marks the end of the Walled Garden’s spectacular allium display, but there is still time to enjoy beautiful claret-coloured lupins. Throughout the gardens, milky bellflowers, salvias and late-flowering alliums will carry the herbaceous borders through the coming weeks with the help of annual fillers like nicotiana and antirrhinum. 

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