I’ve been speaking to the lovely head gardener at BEST WESTERN The Grim’s Dyke Hotel, Helenka. She’s been with us for 7 years now, and ensures our kitchen is kept topped up with only the best organic produce. Helena recently walked me around the kitchen garden and the orchard to show me what’s happening during April.
Spring is in the air!
Nothing denotes spring better than the appearance of Bluebells – and the shoots are starting to appear in Lady Gilbert’s orchard!
Developed by Lady Gilbert, after Sir William Schwenck Gilbert bought the house in 1890, the Victorian orchard dates back over 100 years. It is home to various apple, pear and plum trees, including the popular Edwardian and Victorian dessert apple “Adam’s Pearmain” (first bought to notice in 1826), as well as the Middlesex dessert apple that has stood the test of time, “Brownlees Russset”, which was prized by the Victorians for its taste and the Edwardians, who were also partial to the deep carmine buds that opened into stunning pink blossom as spring progressed.
The Bluebells in the orchard are expected to flower during the latter part of April or early May, and will provide a truly stunning show during the late afternoon light.
There’s also some pretty yellow primroses dotted around the woodlands and our gardeners have been busy planting plenty of other spring bulbs. All our bulbs are purchased from local suppliers and renowned specialist Jacques Amand International – winner of 26 Gold Medals at Chelsea.
The weather’s certainly warmed up this week, encouraging the Cherry tree buds on the Croquet Lawn to make an appearance, as viewed from the Drawing Room and the Library Bar. And, if the good weather continues, you’ll soon be able to sit on the terrace to soak up the sun and view the cherry blossom!
In the potting shed…
The estate’s three gardeners are busy growing Dahlias and ornamental grasses, as well as tomatoes and lettuce, from seed in the potting shed this month. However, as the weather is still inclement at the moment, the heat bench is still switched on, to ensure their roots are kept warm and happy for a while longer.
Finally, Helenka, much like gardeners throughout the UK, will be doing battle with the other spring arrival… weeds! I’m sure between them and the new growth abundant in the garden, Helenka and the other gardeners will have lots to keep them going until we catch up again next month!