Category Archives: Gardening News

Gardening work during July 2022

This is what we did in the Storey Gardens during July 2022:

  • We finished removing the mound of soil and rubble in the Copper Beech Garden. This was the mound by the steps coming up from the Storey.
  • Weeding along the edges of the paths in order to show better the shape of the paths.  This is an ongoing task.
  • During the dry weather, watering the fruit and vegetable plants.
  • Harvesting the yellow rattle seeds.  The Bay: A blueprint for recovery helped with this (see photograph below). After Lancaster City Council‘s Grounds Maintenance team has cut the grass during August, we will rake the wild flower areas and sow the seeds ready for next year.
  • Weeding the flower beds.
  • Weeding around the betony plants in the Copper Beech Garden. Click here to view a separate post about this.
  • Training the young espalier apple trees against the Georgian wall in The Tasting Garden along bamboo canes (see photograph below).
  • Pruning the plum and cherry trees. This must be done in July.
  • Summer pruning the apple trees.
  • Further thinning of the apple and pear fruits

Gatekeeper Butterfly

Yesterday, 27 July 2022, we had a number of gatekeeper butterflies behind the folly in The Tasting Garden.

Searching the Internet for further information revealed that an alternative name for a gatekeeper butterfly is hedge brown and the butterfly in the photo below is female.

Gatekeeper butterfly in the Tasting Garden. Photo by Ruth Standring-Cox

Gardening training and the scavenging herring gull

Last Saturday, Fiona undertook some training of our younger gardening volunteers.

She showed them the flowers on a mature betony plant.  She then set them to weed around the recently planted betony plants in the Copper Beech Garden having first instructed them as to what were weeds and what could be left.

During the morning there was a visit from a passing holly blue butterfly that landed on a nearby privet leaf.  It obligingly stayed there long enough to be photographed.

Holly blue butterfly on a privet leaf. Photo by Candice Chen.

At one point Fiona put the pain au chocolat she had bought in the Printroom Café down on the grass and left it for a few minutes.  As she returned she saw a herring gull about to steal it.  She shouted and ran towards it.  The bird released its grip and flew off.  Much laughter ensued.  Chris Wright was on hand with his camera to record Fiona showing Isabelle the dent in the pastry left by the gull’s beak.

Fiona showing the damage inflicted by the herring gull to her pastry. Photo by Chris Wright.

Gardening work during June 2022

This is what we did in the Storey Gardens during June 2022:

  • We continued the work of removing the mound of soil and rubble in the Copper Beech Garden. This is the mound by the steps coming up from the Storey.  Not much left.  When this is complete we can move the Plants for Sale to this area.
  • Weeding along the edges of the paths in order to show better the shape of the paths.  This is an ongoing task.
  • Weeding and mulching the earth rings around the fruit trees.  All the trees have now been weeded and mulched this year.  Also weeded and mulched the espalier apple trees growing against the Georgian wall.
  • Clearing brushwood from around one of the sycamore trees.
  • Weeding the flower beds.
  • Harvesting the bumper cherry crop on the large cherry tree at the top of The Tasting Garden.  Click here to view a separate post about this.
  • Thinning the fruit on the apple and pear trees.  Click here to view a separate post about this.
The beans planted by The Bay in May 2022 starting to grow. Photo by Alex Blomfield.

Fruit thinning

On Tuesday 28 June 2022, a team of gardening volunteers undertook thinning of the fruits on the fruit trees in The Tasting Garden.

As preparation, some of us had watched a video on the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) website about thinning apples and also searched the Internet for further information.

On the day, we found that the plums did not require thinning as there were disappointing numbers of fruits forming.. However there was plenty to do on the apple and pear trees.

The job took about 90 minutes and some photos of the day are provided below.

Cherry picking

This year the large cherry tree at the top of The Tasting Garden has had its biggest crop of cherries in living memory. Normally the cherries we have are eaten by the birds before they are ripe for humans.

This year, however, the tree has been smothered in cherries and we and our visitors have enjoyed sampling the fruit.

Chris Wright was present when we picked some of the cherries and has made a short video of us in action. Click on the image below to view the video.

Cherries ripening in The Tasting Garden. Photo by Chris Wright.

One of our volunteers Candice Chen also took some photographs on the day.

Speckled Wood Butterfly

In the past week we have had two sightings of a speckled wood butterfly in the Storey Gardens.

According to Alex Blomfield, sightings of a speckled wood butterfly in Lancaster would have been uncommon 20 years ago. However its range has been extending gradually north and has now reached Scotland.

Alex is a Nature and Wellbeing Officer for The Bay, A blueprint for Recovery. He and his colleagues run a session in the Storey Gardens each Tuesday morning (https://www.thebay.org.uk).

Platinum Jubilee Flower Arrngements

See below a picture of two flower arrangements that Fiona created for the Visitor Information Centre located in The Storey. The red, white and blue flowers were chosen to celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee and came from The Tasting Garden.

Fiona regularly provides flower arrangements for the Visitor Information Centre and Printroom café in The Storey.

Jubilee flower arrangement for Visitor Information Centre. Photo by Ruth Standring-Cox.

Gardening work during April and May 2022

This is what we did in the Storey Gardens during April and May 2022

  • Much of our work during these two months has been taken up weeding before the weeds developed seeds. We weeded the flower beds and some of the rings around the fruit trees.
  • We commenced the work of removing the mound of soil and rubble in the Copper Beech Garden. This is the mound by the steps coming up from the Storey. When this is complete we can move the Plants for Sale to this area.
  • Cutting away the grass by the hedge in the Copper Beech Garden. This will give a better defined bed in front of the hedge for plants.
  • Cutting away the grass in front of the herb bed in the Copper Beech Garden to stop the grass encroaching.
  • Weeding along the edges of the paths in order to show better the shape of the paths.
  • Planting runner bean seedlings in the border by the Friends Meeting House.
  • The Bay Project has planted runner beans behind the first hedge in the Bee and Butterfly border.

Orchids in The Tasting Garden

This year (2022) we have four flowering marsh orchid plants – two more than last year. They are all self seeded and demonstrate the benefit of creating wild flower areas in the garden.

All four orchids are in the lower part of The Tasting Garden. Click on one of the images below to see photos of them.

Gardening work during February and March 2022

This is what we did in the Storey Gardens during February and March 2022

  • The privet hedge in the Copper Beech Garden has been cut back to a more manageable height and the width reduced so that the snowdrops, ox-eye daisies and betony at the base can flourish
  • Prior to the Yellow Crocus Day event all the green waste by the Meeting House Lane gate into The Tasting Garden was removed by the Council’s Grounds Maintenance team and the gardens cleared of small branches brought down in the storms
  • An area for depositing sacks for removal by the Cleansing Department has been constructed using old pallets
  • Much general weeding has been done round the borders
  • Clumps of snowdrops growing in the grass and behind the hedge in the Copper Beech Garden have been dug out and planted in pots for sale.  Some snowdrops have also been planted in the Copper Beech Garden alongside the path leading to The Tasting Garden
  • The Bay Project staff and clients have removed last year’s growth from plants, done some planting out and made a lovely display table for the “plants for sale”

And here are a few accompanying photos.

Gardening work during January 2022

This is what we did in the Storey Gardens during January 2022

  • Commenced substantial pruning of the privet hedge in the Copper Beech Garden.  More to do in February
  • Pruning of the four pear trees led by David Redmore.  This included getting the Improved Fertility pear tree to stand upright
  • Weeding and mulching around the pear trees after the pruning
  • Prolific growth of ivy at the top of two large sycamore trees could cause the trees to fall in high winds.  Therefore a band of ivy has been cut away from around the trunks so that the ivy higher up will die back
  • Removed ivy from some of the walls in the Copper Beech Garden
  • Yellow tulips planted in front of the repaired wall in the Copper Beech Garden

And here are some photos of the volunteers in action.