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Gardening Work during April 2023

This is what we achieved in the Storey Gardens during April 2023:

  • More visitors are coming into the gardens so in addition to all the gardening we spend time telling them about the gardens and selling plants
  • Development of the herb bed for the Printroom Café in the Copper Beech Garden.  After removing weeds the chives and existing parsley are easier to locate. Parsley dill and coriander seeds have been sown and seedlings planted.
  • Weeded the edges of many paths In The Tasting Garden to help define these for the first mowing by the Grounds Maintenance team. We were assisted by two volunteers from the Lancaster Men’s Hub.
  • Weeded around the fruit trees and the borders removing hogweed, celandines, hedge garlic and creeping buttercup to name a few. Pulled out Spanish bluebell leaves and flowers from the wildflower areas to inhibit multiplication.
  • Weeded and tidied the plants in pots by the water tanks to make them suitable for sale.  Potted up more plants from the garden including native primroses and native cowslips, and spent a lot of time writing labels providing useful information about the plants.
  • Cut out dead parts off the fuschia in the café patio area.
  • Planted giant snowdrops, stichwort, Anemone Pulsatilla., Ersimum Bowles Mauve, Anthemis tinctoria E.C. Buxton, a Hardy crysanthemum ‘Clara Curtis’ and meadow cranesbill in The Tasting Garden and two cyclamen coum under the copper beech tree.
  • Dug out old gooseberry bushes and more raspberry canes.  Planted two virtually thornless gooseberry bushes, Pax, which produces sweet red berries.
  • Fiona created a beautiful flower arrangement for the unveiling ceremony.
  • Made a new support for the rose Zephirine, finished a table for plants not ready for sale and replaced the pallet gate to the compost area.

    Plants in flower in the gardens during April included.

    Large tulipsSpecies (dwarf) tulipsForget-me-nots
    Snake’s head fritillariesCowslipsNative primroses
    Coronilla valentina citrinaChionodoxaPulmonaria
    DaffodilsFruit treesMarsh Marigolds

    Unveiling of the first two fruit sculptures

    On the evening of Monday 24 April 2023, the long awaited unveiling of the first two fruit sculptures took place in The Tasting Garden.

    David Morgan (Lancaster Civic Vision Deputy Chair and Communications Lead) has kindly written a press release of the event. Click here to read the press release. David also made a video of the ceremony. This can be accessed from a link in the press release.

    Some other photos were taken at the event and these are in the slideshow below.

    Gardening Work during March 2023

    This is what we achieved in the Storey Gardens during March 2023:

    • Installed three bird boxes in The Tasting Garden.
    • Planted more snowdrops along path in the Copper Beech garden, rudbeckia in the Bee and Butterfly border, cowslips in the wildflower meadow and a hardy Chrysanth (Mrs Jessie Cooper).
    • Weeding has been a major activity. In The Tasting Garden we weeded the beds alongside the Meeting House wall and the Georgian wall and the area behind the Hessle pear tree. We also weeded the bed in front of the hedge in the Copper Beech Garden.
    • Emptied one of the leaf mould cages and filled it with leaves stored in large builders’ sacks.
    • Cut off regrowth on a sycamore stump and cut back the buddleias.
    • Cut back and dug out brambles from behind the yew hedge along the Meeting House Lane border.  Removed excess soil for use when potting-up plants for sale.
    • Thinned the raspberry canes to make more room in the soft fruit bed.
    • Created flower arrangements for the Storey PrintRoom Café.
    • Provided Ludus Dance with punnets and soil. Ludus Dance are running a children’s Easter Club in The Storey during the Easter School holidays. One of the activities will involve the children planting climbing beans to take home.
    • Divided a phlomis tuberosa (Jerusalem Sage) and planted out in three clumps.
    • Removed some ivy from the wall in the Copper Beech Garden behind the Plants for Sale area.

    Nature Note – We saw a pair of song thrushes in the Gardens during March. They used to be frequent visitors but we haven’t seen any for some time.

    First two sculptures installed

    On Friday 24 March 2023 the Czar plum and Swan’s Egg pear sculptures were installed in The Tasting Garden. What you see in the photos below is a sneak preview. The sculptures will be covered over until the end of April when there will be a small ceremony to unveil them officially.

    The installation was in two stages. The first was to install the new plinths. The second was to fix the sculptures to them.

    The work was undertaken by a team from Kenneth A Fraser Ltd, monumental sculptors. Alan Ward oversaw the fixing of the sculptures to the plinths.

    There were a lot of photos taken by Chris Wright who was on hand to record the action.

    The photos have been split into two slideshows. The first shows the instillation on the plinths in The Tasting Garden. The second shows the fixing of the sculptures to the plinths.

    The two plinths engraved

    Alan Ward has engraved the names of the Czar and Swan’s Egg fruit sculptures on the two plinths.

    There had been some discussion whether the engraving would be performed at Alan’s studio in Lancaster Castle or in The Tasting Garden after the plinths had been installed.

    In the end, Alan did the engraving outside his studio. The next stage will be to install the plinths in the garden.

    Chris Wright was on hand to record Alan in action. See the photos below.

    5. Wildflower Meadow Areas

    Mention the role of the yellow rattle.

    Harvesting the yellow rattle seeds.

    Strimming the grass and raking.

    Scraping the wildflower areas and sowing the seeds.

    Include images of the wildflower area flowers

    3. Holly The Hedgehog

    When all is quiet and peaceful in The Storey Gardens, the people have gone and the trees are lit only by the moon and stars, you might hear a scrunch of leaves and some strange noises in the darkness.

    From a forgotten corner, Holly Hedgehog and the Hoglets will emerge from their daytime hiding place to busy themselves in the borders, linger on the grassy areas or snuffle among the shrubs. They walk around both gardens in their quest for food, feasting on earthworms, beetles, caterpillars, slugs and apples. Rotting fruit is a good place to find tasty millipedes and earwigs.

    Holly looked after the Hoglets in the nest for four weeks and only has two weeks to teach them how to forage before they leave home. You won’t see Holly or any Hoglets around the gardens during the day but you might spot their dark cylindrical droppings full of beetle carcasses around the garden and mistake them for black slugs.

    As the Autumn turns colder, Holly will eat as much as she can, then make a Winter nest. She finds a quiet place in the garden under brambles or log piles and brings leaves in her mouth to make a shelter from the cold and rain. She will hibernate there until the Spring arrives but may wake up and go out for food if the sun warms her nest. If one of the gardeners disturbs her nest, she will be very annoyed and have to find a new place to build another one.

    In the Storey Gardens we help Holly and other hedgehogs by letting the fallen leaves remain at the back of the borders and place logs behind the bushes.  We have log piles and hidden areas with brambles and sticks. Remember not to be too tidy in your garden and leave gaps in walls and fences so hedgehogs can roam freely.

    Story based on a idea by Elaine Cook. Image of Holly the Hedgehog drawn by Elaine Cook.
    Information about the lives of hedgehogs taken from the book “Hedgehogs” by Pat Morris.

    1. The Copper Beech Tree

    A significant feature in the first of the two Storey Gardens is the huge copper beech tree. The tree dominates the rest of the garden so much that we refer to this garden as the Copper Beech Garden.

    One of the Friends, Chris Wright, has made a video showing the tree throughout the seasons. He has also written a poem about the tree to accompany the video.

    Click on the image below to watch the video. The poem is the copyright of Chris Wright.

    26 April 2022. The tree transformed into leaf after only 10 days. Photo by Chris Wright.