Our Head Gardeners Blog

Time to embrace autumn...

Each time I enter The Grove and catch sight of the mansion on top of the hill across the valley – I still get a real buzz.  Everything from the meadows that sweep gently down the hill towards the Grand Union Canal to the manicured Golf Course and the Reception entrance – it is all very grand and beautiful. And then there are the gardens...

The new season maybe upon us, but we are still experiencing the temperatures of late summer and long may it continue!  We have had a few cold nights and the leaves are changing colour, but the gardens continue to flower well.
 
In the Gardens Office we have been planning our spring bulb display, which promises to be spectacular if all goes to plan. The first will start to flower in late January, early February and the last will be in bloom in early June.

In the Walled Garden the fruit harvest is going apace. The abundance of plums are being harvested and I reckon it’s our best yield yet.  The chefs are working their magic on the root vegetables, courgettes, squashes, salad leaves, radishes, cucamelons, tomatoes and peppers. The nasturtium flowers are still going down well , as are the white and blue borage flowers, violas, radish flowers, cucumber and bean flowers.
And dare I say it, but we will be choosing our Christmas trees for the hotel very soon with the main 25 footer planned for its pride of place in the Rose Garden.

 

fruit OF THE MONTH

Cucamelon  

It’s difficult to say if this a fruit or a vegetable, a bit like the old question of rhubarb and tomatoes. Are they fruit or vegetable?! 
That aside, my fruit of the month is the Cucamelon: Melothria scabra 'Cucamelon'. Also known as the Mouse Melon or Mexican Miniature Watermelon.This relatively new vegi-fruit tastes like cucumber with a hint of lime, but looks like a mini melon.  Last year we grew them in pots in the greenhouse , however this year they are up in supports in the garden and have performed better than the ones from inside last year.


HERB of the month

 Thyme  

There are over 300 types of Thyme (thymus). Here at The Grove the two most popular are ‘Common’ and ‘Lemon’ and we also grow ‘Orange’. Thyme is an aromatic, warming, astringent herb used to improve digestion, relax spasms, control coughing and is strongly antiseptic and antifungal. It also has wide culinary uses... We flavour soups, marinades, stuffings, and vegetables with it. Did you know it is also used in toothpaste and anti-rheumatic preparations?


 

tree OF THE MONTH

Medlar Mespilus germanica

Opposite the Gardens Office there are a number of the unusual trees.My tree of the month though is Medlar Mespilus Germanica – dogs bottom.

Despite being likened to a 'dogs bottom' Medlars are ornamental, flowering trees with pretty blossom; good autumn colour and bear fruits which are edible and make wonderful jelly and jam. The fruit will be ready for picking by the end of October

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