Dear Friends of the Garden, hello again and welcome back!

We can’t believe how the months have flown by and it’s been so busy that our Blog has been neglected. We are back in touch at last, to fill you in on what we have been up to here at The Old Rectory Gardens and invite you to share with us, the excitements and developments of the past few months and show how all the hard work over the winter was rewarded.

Weather: in hindsight we were lucky! Having all that heavy rain in the winter allowed our base, slightly clay soil, lying beneath the lighter, home produced mulch, to retain moisture for longer than might have been the case in a dryer climate. This gave new planting and the hungry roots of shrubs, a little extra help in the dryer late Spring and into early Summer.

Our Roses have again been loving the heat and dry, nurtured by good garlic feeds and washes and a little bit of effort on their part, in allowing their roots to search for that moisture below the surface, they have again given us a lovely display here. Fortunately, they were at their peak as The Historic Rose Society visited and everyone agreed we have a very fine collection of over 50 varieties of Roses!

Group visits have been extremely popular this year. These are very special days, when a group of minimum 15 max 50, book for a guided visit which includes either a delicious lunch, using produce in our Potager or locally Homemade cake, including Gluten free! Another new idea was to open twice a week this season and we have enjoyed welcoming lots of visitors and many new faces!

So what else has been happening?

On the gardening front, its been busy!! Mainly, we’ve concentrated on adding to our collection of more unusual plants or forms of. One of the most exciting things about the early Spring, is having the chance to visit our favourite Nurseries and tick off our, ‘shopping list’. This year we have really enjoyed admiring our, Cycas Cirinalis, (Queen Sago Palm), which only grows wild in southern India and our Albizia julibr. ‘Evey’s Pride’, a purple leaved form of silk tree. Watching them settle into their new surroundings. Both these plants are not hardy so will need to be taken in during the winter. Of course there was still a lot of, ‘behind the scenes’ work that sustained and frustrated us, through the harsh winter months. These projects included… drainage, irrigation, the beginnings of a new service path, restoring the steps in the woodland, work on the river bank, building a vast fruit cage in our working garden area, redesigning the Hot Border, Restorative Pruning, especially of our Wisteria, see the results below…

 

Finishing off the framework of the Twisted Hazel Garden and replanting the areas at the front of the house and working on restoring the steep bank there. Then from Spring onwards, we pricked out our 30,000 seedlings, comprising of flowers and vegetables, in order to save on costs but also to produce healthier or more unusual forms of both for the upcoming season!

 

‘Here are some of the fruits of our labours’

All this preceded the ‘main events’ of our busy Summer, which as we said has been hectic but fun and it wouldn’t have been possible to reap the success of these, had we not put in that effort last Winter. Events have included, a wonderful evening of Jazz on the main lawn for 250 people. We drank fabulous wines, especially Rose, Chateau Saint Baillon, provided by fine wine merchants, Goedhuis & Co and locally grown Stonyfield sparkling wine, produced in Northamptonshire, whose awards include Wine of the Year 2017 MVA Wine Challenge, accompanied by smoked salmon sandwiches in a perfectly still, young Summers evening under lanterns and stars.

This raised much needed funds for our superb local hospice, Lakelands Hospice, Corby, who are raising money for outreach nurses to treat patients in their own homes, what a great idea.

 

The main event however had to be our unique and exciting joint venture with the wonderful NEST. A group of super talented guys, who run a restaurant in Hackney, just voted 38/100 Best Restaurants in London! They decamped here for a week to cook an original and delicious 9 course, ‘taster menu’ from our garden produce. The weather was perfect and our lovely guests created a memorable atmosphere for this first time experiment, which we hope to put expand and recreate for next Summer!

Please see this short video to sample a piece of the action! We will be taking bookings after Christmas for 2019…

We’ll be writing again soon, meanwhile keep watching the website for more info on our upcoming course and events for this Autumn!