Snowdrops – 10 surprising facts about these dainty little flowers

Samantha PillingThe Gardens

Snowdrops - 10 Surprising Facts

One of the first flowers of the new year, the snowdrop is one our most endearing flowers. Not only does it remind us that spring is just around the corner, this delicate bell-shaped flower, has an interesting background. Here’s 10 things you didn’t know about the snowdrop. #1: It’s Greek name ‘Galanthus’, translates as the ‘milk flower’! Known by several … Read More

Giant Redwood trees, Victorians and The Grim’s Dyke

Samantha PillingThe Gardens

Redwoods

Wander around the formal gardens at Grim’s Dyke and you’ll be surrounded by the breath-taking beauty of nature. Lady Gilbert planted a stunning array of flowers and plants, with the most noticeable being several Redwood trees, now over 100 years old. As with any Victorian gardener with status, Lady Gilbert would have loved exotic plants – and would have relished … Read More

10 Facts about the Green woodpecker

Samantha PillingThe Gardens

Green Woodpecker

There are three woodpeckers that breed in Britain – the Green woodpecker, the Greater woodpecker and the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. The Green woodpecker is the largest of the three. Here are ten interesting facts about these colourful birds. #1: The scientific name for a Green woodpecker is Picus viridis The Green woodpecker is from the Picidae family of birds and … Read More

The fairytale toadstool: Amanita muscaria

Samantha PillingThe Gardens

Toadstools and mushrooms are a common sight in the UK. Whether you’re talking about the Victorian era or today, there are two instantly recognisable descriptions; one is that of the closed cup mushroom – and the other is the Amanita muscaria toadstool. You could be forgiven though, for not recognising it from its official name but, if I told you it was red with … Read More

How and where to spot Muntjac Deer in Harrow

Samantha PillingThe Gardens

Image used under license from Shutterstock.com

What are Muntjac Deer? Muntjac deer, also known as Mastreani deer and barking deer, (given their repeated loud bark) are exotic looking deer, that can grow up to 52cm at the shoulder and weigh up to 16kg. You can often hear the male buck deer giving a loud bark, the females and kids however, tend to let out squeaks. When … Read More

Victorian Orchards

Samantha PillingThe Gardens

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Fruit growing rose in popularity during the 1870s and became an important pastime of the Victorians. No longer was fruit growing limited to farmers, looking to produce Perry and cider, as a form of payment to their labourers, the wealthier Victorians created orchards on their estates too. These comprises of not just apples and pears, but also stone fruits too, … Read More

Flowers and plants that attract bees

Samantha PillingThe Gardens

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If you want to attract bees into your garden, you don’t have to turn the whole garden into a mass of pollen-producing flowers (although that would look amazing!). You can easily help the bees in your area, by ensuring you have pollen and nectar rich plants for the different seasons. If you have plenty of room, you could also section … Read More

British Bees

Samantha PillingThe Gardens

British Bees

There are approximately 250 species of bee in the UK and they can be broken down into two groups – the social bee and the solitary bee. Here’s an overview of each. Social bees There are only 24 species of social bee in the UK. The most talked about are the honey and bumble bee, but the most common is … Read More

The Victorian sunken garden

Samantha PillingHistory, The Gardens

Rose Basket

Sir William Gilbert added the sunken rose garden at Grim’s Dyke in the late 19th Century. Sunken rose gardens became very popular in the Victorian area, growing in popularity throughout the Edwardian period of the early 1900s. It could be that Sir William added in this delightful secluded area, as he knew how much Lady Gilbert loved gardening – and … Read More

Giant Rhubarb (Gunnera Manicata)

Samantha PillingThe Gardens

Giant Rhubarb (Gunnera Manicata)

Here in the grounds of Grim’s Dyke, we have an amazing specimen plant that can grow up to 2.5 metres tall, with a spread of up to 4 metres. Commonly known as the Giant Rhubarb, this plant adorned many a stately garden – and is it any wonder? This prehistoric-looking plant cuts and imposing figure in any large garden, with … Read More