On Tuesday 17 July the mechanical digger arrived in the garden. Along with it came two very active human labourers and all the volunteer gardeners. The mechanical digger removed the debris and rubble from successive builders, revealing the clay and the oxygen-starved soil beneath. One lorry removed the nasty stuff and a second one brought in good-looking fertile soil. The volunteer gardeners broke up the compacted soil and then the 8 bags of new soil were dropped into the space the digger had excavated and then raked level to create the new bed. Thanks to a landfill grant from Viridor we will be developing this as the vegetable garden, using the space to grow varieties of vegetables that Mrs Gaskell might have known.
So this blog uses photos of mechanical and human activity instead of flowers, to show the practicalities beneath the flowers.
The garden has needed a boost as it has suffered from the drought of the past two months. Plants have shown the stress and the blooms of earlier months are just a fond memory. But rain will revive the garden and the plants will survive.
I will mention a couple of new arrivals. Mrs Pollock, a variegated pelargonium, displays herself in pots at the back of the house. Joining her among the pots, is Rose of Castille fuschia, grown as a standard. Both date from the 1860’s and both were recommended by Shirley Hibberd one of the most popular and successful gardening writers of the Victorian era. So Mrs Gaskell could well have known them. I’ve added photos of them below to ensure we have some flower colour in this blog.
Written by Chris Tucker, garden volunteer