Windlesham’s Walled Garden
The Autumn term has been a very busy one in the garden what with harvesting crops, weighing pumpkins and measuring sunflowers, we have two clear winners, heaviest pumpkin grown by Abby Hinton and the tallest sunflower was grown by Lara Middlemiss. Well done to them, (trophies to be presented at the end of term. (picture)
The veg stall outside the Headmaster’s garage has proved very popular with both staff and parents enjoying produce straight from the garden. The school kitchen has made use of quite a few different fruits and vegetables, which have gone down very well at lunchtime. The pumpkins did very well after a somewhat false start with a late frost that almost wiped them out, but they managed to recover with a bit of tlc as you can see from the picture.(picture) The wild flower patch was a picture all summer and well into autumn with blues and yellows first followed by reds and oranges, with the whites all the way through.(picture)
The only real failures this year have been the peas (not one) and one variety of carrot, so we will try another variety this year and see what happens.
Six raised beds have been constructed for the use of the regular garden club children, they have drawn up detailed plans of what to grow as they have been given a free hand to produce whatever they would like to grow, I must admit there are some interesting projects, a prize will be awarded next summer.(picture)
The ground has been prepared for more fruit trees and bushes to be planted as soon as they are delivered
The garden, which is an acre in size, dates from the 1870s and has not been used for the last 50 years. Over the last few months, the whole area has been sensitively and caringly cleared of accumulated debris, overgrown grass, etc. and restored by professional gardeners. Approximately 75% of the garden has been grass seeded and 25% will be cultivated immediately. The grassed areas will be brought into cultivation on a phased basis.
Where possible, old fruit trees have been preserved and the old Apple Store attached to the garden is to be used as a rustic classroom as the children become more and more involved.
The old greenhouses were destroyed in the great storm of 1987. Where possible, wood frames, metal works and original glass have been preserved and may be used to rebuild one greenhouse.
An experienced gardener, Andrew Norman, has been recruited to take charge of the Walled Garden and is to be congratulated on what he has achieved already in just one month. Andy’s role is twofold.Firstly, he will be working with the Andy Nuttall – Head of Science, not only as part of the science syllabus but also as an extra-mural activity, encouraging and supporting Windlesham children to develop an interest and love for gardening.
Secondly, to provide the school’s kitchen with home-grown market garden produce; any surplus will be sold to parents and in local outlets.
Much of the restoration process of the Walled Garden has been videoed and we will continue to keep a record of its development. We shall be arranging an official opening later in the year.
Richard Foster, Headmaster
Listen to: Walled Garden BBC Sussex27.9.11
The Garden Club with Andy Norman
The Garden Club had their first meeting on Wednesday 28th September and was a great success. Pupils and staff enjoyed the lovely sunshine and the children were put to the task of putting some wonderful well rotted manure around the pear trees by the east wall.
They also planted four plots of Caliente mustard seed, a mixture of lettuce seeds and a ring of bulbs around the base of the Wisteria tree.
We are all looking forward to the clubs second meeting next week.
I thought it was time I did another update on how the garden is progressing, this month October we have been busy planting Hyacinths, tulips and a selection of bulbs that were dug up from where the caliente mustard was sown. The mustard as you can see from the photograph has come on in leaps and bounds, this after three weeks!
The other day when I was digging in my nice peaceful garden, there was suddenly a crescendo of noise so loud that I couldn’t hear myself think, the birds were shouting, screaming, squawking and generally making a very loud din, I noticed some very large black clouds approaching from the east, not sure whether this was the cause or something else upsetting them. While we are on the subject of birds, Mel Clark brought over some bird feeders which has been a great success with the small birds; lots of pheasants seem to have made the garden their dining room at the moment queuing up for their breakfast of caliente mustard in the morning. It’s like being in a scene from ‘Danny The Champion of the World’. The fruit trees seem to want to keep hanging on to their leaves what with all this warm weather, so no pruning just yet.
The weather has been kind to us so I have been busy digging over and preparing the vegetable patches. The fruit trees have arrived and have been planted and the fruit bushes and canes will be arriving any day now. The pear trees along the west facing wall have been pruned as have the apple trees along the east facing wall. The hyacinths have started to shoot and have been transferred from a cool dark place to a warm light place to try and bring them into flower for Christmas. At last it’s starting to look like a proper garden!
December has been a very busy month. We have managed to get all the fruit planted, staked and tied. The rhubarb is in and already growing. More digging and on wet days clearing the ivy and elder from down the left hand side wall, where we have uncovered a large Nectarine tree which we hope to be able to save and nurture. The children took home their planted hyacinths (not sure if any flowered for Christmas) but if not, they will soon. I have also been getting cold frames ready for use in the Spring and potato, vegetable and flower seeds are ordered and set to arrive in January..
Another busy month with nearly all the digging finished for this Winter. Due to the warmer weather this January, some of the under planted tulips and alliums have already come through the surface so we have had to protect them with compost.
The trees along the arbour have been pruned with just a few large cuts to each tree. This is to try and encourage some growth lower down and to gradually replace the older wood. All the vegetable seeds have arrived, potatoes are chitting nicely, brassica seeds have been sown in the greenhouse along with sweet peas and some cleome’s. I’ve almost finished tidying up the outside of the left hand wall, just the far end to go now. Next update end of February when the garden club should have resumed (weather permitting).
Lots of planting has happened this month. Esme managed to plant all the sugar snap peas herself and six of the girls planted our onions. Also planted outside this month include broad beans, peas and garlic which has already started to shoot.
The blueberry buds are starting to open and new shoots are appearing everywhere. Garden Cottage Nursery were also in the garden recently all in costume portraying the nursery rhyme ‘The Queen of Hearts’ with the queen of hearts and her plate of jam tarts and the naughty knave of hearts stealing her tarts, (which by the way tasted wonderful). Well just about to give the grass its first cut so bye for now, next update end of March.
Well March is over and what a wonderful month it has been despite the severe lack of rain.
We have been very busy in the garden with all manner of things being planted, including the garden club competition to see who can grow the biggest pumpkin and the tallest sunflower,(the gloves are off). Peas, broad beans and radishes are up, potatoes are in and old and new fruit trees are bursting there buds with this warm weather (hope we do not get a sharp frost in the near future).
Grass paths through the vegetable patches are starting to take shape. Hyacinths under the arbour smell absolutely gorgeous first thing in the morning with the dew still on them and the birds are singing with the joys of spring. Do come in anytime; the garden is changing all the time!
April was a very wet month. As you all know; 163mm of rain fell here at Windlesham. So we have concentrated on potting up of plants in the greenhouse in preparation of planting out sometime in May when the weather allows.
This month the school has enjoyed the first grown lettuce from the garden and the pre prep children said it was delicious. Garden activities have started with the Seniors coming over on Monday afternoons and Juniors on Friday afternoons. The other Friday Pre-Prep came over and presented me with a superb scarecrow that they had made. Unfortunately, I think he went to sleep the other night and let the pigeons eat all the peas!
The asparagus has been planted and the potatoes are above ground. Strawberries are in flower so we will have to protect them from frost, birds and slugs. With all the rain last month, everything is growing rapidly, the giant sunflowers have been planted out, with the giant pumpkins going out soon, THE RACE IS ON.