Hello and welcome to our newly designed website for The Old Rectory Gardens, which we hope you will use as a portal into all the daily and seasonal activities going on within it and join us on our garden’s journey in the years to come.

What a crystal clear morning, here in The Old Rectory Gardens. The sharp sunrise and mad watering overnight, has woken up all the roses across every bed and our new gardener Ben is head down in the borders, preparing for our NGS Open Day at the weekend, Sunday 18th June. We are busily making homemade cakes and juice to accompany teas in the garden. The winter seems a distant memory, as we tried to imagine warm sunny days like these, when the garden is bursting with colour and texture, in every corner you visit. Despite having to do a lot of tree work, which involved bringing a ‘cherry picker’ into the garden, to reduce the height and weight of our veteran False Acacia…@250 years old and the star of the show on our lawn infront of the house, plus work to a further three trees! Luckily the grass has healed.

Then there was the renewal of the trellising around the Rose Circle and the gentle, temporary removal of the old climbing roses and careful digging around the established tree peonies. As we lifted each trellis out to paint it indoors and once dried replaced them in the February sunshine. Miraculously, both have returned, even more glorious than before and the roses have enjoyed their hard prune with a regular folia feed and pest control of Garlic spray. Brilliant results and no damage done to our wildlife! Needless to say, the striped Mullein moth caterpillar has arrived and tried to munch away at the verbascum again, but this year we were onto it and armed with a trusty jam jar and sturdy pair of gloves, they are now creating havoc in a field some distance away! Did you know that the moth is named after the common name for verbascum, and that the plant was used to extract a dye.

As I sit here writing, the bees are very busy around the white standard Wisteria at the front of the house, either side of the steps. They are weeping with white racemes and beneath them bundles of Mexican daisies are dripping over the steps that lead down onto the lawn. Despite being hit by the frost and hail on a sudden chilly day last month, they too have recovered. Though we are having to pick off ‘scale’ from the bark when we see them. (This is a sap sucker and causes reduces vigour and looks like a tiny black bud, with  a hard shell like a woodlouse. Clever!)  Difficult to detect, so be thorough, when summer and winter pruning!

Ben’s training at Kew, Cambridge and Birmingham is proving invaluable, as we work through our second summer here. Supported by Margi, who’s wealth and variety of experience has been key to our progress so far, each day is exciting and challenging as we bring the gardens back to life. Even our Potager, is beginning to shine.

The hundreds of seeds we have sown this year have rewarded us with colour and taste and shortly we hope to be putting that to the test, when we provide a dinner for visitors to a concert for The Oundle Music Festival’s, Bach Walk. An event that allows us to walk visitors through our beautiful and currently very wild woodland. Steps lead you up the bank and through a gate to the fields beyond. Our friend and supporter Lizzie Barker of Creature Candy, loves this space. She has designed a wonderful range of simple gifts all decorated with detailed line drawings of endangered British wildlife, such as the sleepy dormouse. Great presents and we have them here in The Old Potting Shed, our tea room!

If you want to see more of our regular photo stream on Instagram, showing a mix of beautiful plants and daily garden life. You are welcome to visit us through the season, on either our monthly Weekend Open Day or any Thursday or contacting us to book a group visit or why not join us for a Masterclass.

Oh one more thing to add! Yesterday something ‘caught the eye’ and looking up we saw the magnificently large and pure white egret, fly into the tree by the Lily pond next to the brook. Just sitting there in the cool breeze and swaying in the branches! Wonderful sight!

 

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