Damson Cottage Garden

July week 2… Clumber park and blackcurrants

Can you believe how hot it’s been this week? If I had to sum this week up in three words it would be sunglasses, ice creams and watering cans!

We had a brilliant time at Clumber Park (a National Trust estate near Nottingham). We used to go as children. I have great memories of climbing trees, picnics (with tupperware, of course!), bikes and kites. It was brilliant to go back and see other families enjoying it.

Trees at Clumber

We went for a tour around the walled garden. The gardener said this path has a spectrum of colours from yellows and reds near the greenhouse to blues furthest away. This difference in colour is to trick the eye into thinking the path (and garden) is longer when viewed from the greenhouse, and shorter when viewed from the gate at the other end of the path.

Clumber park greenhouse

If you stand at the greenhouse and look down the path, the planting colours give the illusion that the path is longer as there are cooler blues towards the back of the garden. I am going to attempt this in our garden to make it seem longer!

Cooler colours towards the back of the garden make it seem longer

If I win the lottery I will build a replica of this greenhouse. These grape vines run up the inside of the glass. Originally the roots would have been outside the greenhouse so the vines did not need as much watering, but still benefit from the heat. Now, because ornamental beds are on the outside, the vines are planted inside the greenhouse and they are watered using an irrigation system.

If I win the lottery I will make a greenhouse just like this

Check out the gardeners’ notes on the back of a door. They were written over 200 years ago when 30 gardeners grew all the fruits and veg for the Dukes.

Notes about the garden, written by the gardener over 200 years ago

They used to grow peaches against south facing, hollow walls. In the Winter they would light fires in the walls to keep the plants warm. Peaches were very precious.

Back in our (tiny by comparison) garden, all of the blackcurrants seem to be ready at once. They take ages to pick. We have been making blackcurrant sauce for pancakes and blackcurrant cordial – definitely recommended! Check out this amazing photo James took…


Growing blackcurrents

Blackcurrants like somewhere sunny with rich soil. The bushes grow about 5 feet tall and need to be pruned in Winter.¬†We only have one blackcurrant bush, but it’s very healthy and provides us with loads of fruit. Did you know there is a blackcurrant society?! Their website reliably informs me that blackcurrants contain 3 times more vitamin C than an orange!

Happy gardening! Jane

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