Growing Awareness - Midwinter Visioning

18th December, 2018
by Julian | 3 Min Read
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Welcome to the latest news-post with our Head Gardener Bryony Middleton

Mid-winter visioning

As we approach the shortest day we are enjoying a slower pace in the gardens here at Sharpham House, adding finishing touches before a well-earned break.

They say a gardener's work is never done, and while this is the time of year when we feel the closest to achieving completion, it also brings a wonderful sense of looking inwards, acknowledging successes (and failures) of the year and organising the jobs and visions for the following year with renewed energy.

With this is mind I’d like to share a few of our achievements in 2018 - it has been an incredible first season for me here at Sharpham - and also what plans we have afoot for the New Year.

Top 2018 Garden Happenings

  • We produced over 1.5 tonnes of organic fruit and veg for the kitchen between April and December
  • There was a consistent supply of salad including over 35 different cultivars of lettuce, chicory, endive, mustards and other unusual leaves
  • We started drying herbs for teas for the house
  • Bryony and Amy gained certificates in Brushcutter and Ride on Mower training and kept the lawns and hedges in trim
  • We made leaf mould bays, turned mounds of compost, collected seaweed mulch, turned in tonnes of manure and noticed our worm population in the garden increasing with all the added organic matter
  • Cleared a lot of ivy and dug out saplings with a workday group of volunteers
  • Made a hardening-off area in one of the old hotbeds near the glasshouse and cleared the other two thanks to the perseverance of our trusty Tuesday volunteers
  • Continued our Tuesday volunteer sessions which proved increasingly popular this autumn with a steady crew of 10-12 people
  • Held 2 wonderful opening days: Summer and Apple Day attracting hundreds of people
  • Provided a tranquil space for hundreds of retreatants

Winter jobs and planning for 2019

  • Update the crop plan (notes: more big dark red beets, cavelo nero kale and leeks, more frequent smaller salad successions)
  • The seed order – we like to use smaller local seed companies that specialise in open pollinated seed that we can save for the following year, as well as organic varieties, these include Tamar Organics, Real Seeds, Vital Seeds.
  • Map and catalogue the ornamental beds
  • Update the overall garden management schedule
  • Work on designs for our exciting new project: Physic Garden and sensory garden of herbs that we can dry for tea, but can also be enjoyed by retreatants and used as material in courses
  • Winter is the perfect time for building infrastructure. We are making bays for storage in the second walled garden, clearing and making new beds, redoing paths and steps in the woodland
  • Prune the apple trees and plan some new plantings for our Tree Care Day on Sunday 10 February - to which you are all invited.

Find out more about Sharpham's gardens here