Our Head Gardeners Blog

The scents of summer...

The other day I was thinking about the aromas in a garden...  Working in a garden that surrounds a hotel has added benefits, but also the power to make the busy gardener a touch peckish!  The aroma of freshly percolated coffee, the waft of freshly cooked bacon and the sweet smell of newly baked bread regularly have my tummy rumbling.

This time of year in the garden is amazing for eyes and nose with a riot of colour in the borders and an array of scents at every turn from freshly mowed grass to clipped box hedges along with the scents of roses and philadelphus.

There is also the hum and twitter of insects and birds.  Here at The Grove we do not spray insecticide or fungicide in the gardens and as a result we have an enormous population of insects – some not so good and some beneficial.  I have always found that the ‘not so good’ ones arrive first followed by the good ones soon after. Ladybirds are amazing and whitefly, blackfly and greenfly are top of their menu.

And I must not forget taste – the vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruit in the Walled Garden come into their own this month.  We have had an excellent crop of strawberries and Globe Artichokes, and the raspberries look to be the best yield yet. Green and red varieties of gooseberries will be going to the Chefs at our restaurants very soon and we are just waiting for the heavily laden apricot trees to ripen and the tomatoes to ripen in the greenhouse. 

The beekeeper recently took 38 kilos of lovely honey down to the kitchens from our hives on the estate, which for a spring harvest is excellent.  He told me that the bees are very happy and should therefore produce another bumper crop later in the year.  

There is another smell that all gardeners recognise - in the morning on warm days when the floors and walls have dampened down in the greenhouse – there is nothing quite like it.

The scents and aromas change throughout the day with flowers opening at different times depending on the weather, heat and moisture.

On warm days there is a pair of Red Kites that circle around the woods on the estate spiralling higher and higher and cruising along the grass meadows and across the golf course looking for a tasty meal. Their high pitched call to each other is unmistakeable.

 All in all, the month of July is a wonderful time for the senses.

 

TREE OF THE MONTH

Tree of the month   Lime Tilia x europaea

At this time of the year the ornamental Limes come into flower with a heavy lemony-lime scent that fills the garden.  Lime wood is easy to work and often used in turnery, carving and furniture making. Lime bark was traditionally used to make rope, and lime flowers are considered a valuable source of food for honeybees. The wood does not warp and is still used today to make sounding boards and piano keys and Morris dancing sticks.



HERB of the month

 Lavender  

avender looks stunning everywhere at the moment. It comes in various blues, reds, pinks and white. Not only does it look good, but the unmistakable perfume that they produce fills the garden especially in the evening.

Lavender is an incredibly versatile herb and is used medicinally and as an ingredient in the culinary world. It is also the main component in potpourri and its oil is used in aromatherapy.

Lavender is a recognized treatment for the following conditions and symptoms: Restlessness, insomnia , abdominal complaints , rheumatism, loss of appetite, dandruff, headaches, muscular aches, fluid retention and cellulite. Lavender is used externally as a tonic in inhalation therapy to treat nervous disorders and exhaustion. Herbalists treat skin ailments, such as fungal infections, burns, wounds, eczema, and acne, with lavender. It is also used externally in a healing bath for circulatory disorders and for calming.
 

FRUIT OF THE MONTH

Apricots

Apricot - Prunus armeniaca

The British apricot season is from May to September and wer're lucky to have three types this summer. The ‘New Large Early’, ‘Tomcot’, and ‘Golden Glow’  adorn the walls of  our Walled Garden and this year they have an abundance of fruit on them, which the chefs will use in the hotel restaurants. Watch out on our seasonal menus for them to make their debut!

Wishing you all a glorious summer.

David

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