It has been sometime since my last blog on the developments in the Kitchen Garden. It has been a really busy but rewarding winter and even with the brief snow showers at the back end of April it does feel as though spring is here again.
My priority for this last winter was to continue to progress the infrastructure of the garden that was started last year and to make working the garden a more efficient task. To that end I have finished the reclaimed brick path through the middle of the garden, allowing better access to the vegetable beds, I have constructed raised vegetable beds both in the outside growing area and also in the polytunnels, filling them all with well rotted horse manure from the old Ardtornish stables and homemade compost, feeding the soil whilst also creating more manageable and distinct growing spaces.
The raspberries, which were growing in one of the tunnels, had become rather weedy and a little unmanageable so have now been replaced and relocated to brand new raspberry beds outside, one summer variety (Malling Admiral) and one Autumn variety (Autumn Bliss) which will, in time, provide a good supply of raspberries over a long season.
A major change that visitors to the garden will notice is the new lawn and the 2 new Rose beds on the right hand side as you come into the garden. These have been constructed using treated sleepers and I feel have given the garden a pleasing and more structured feel. The roses supplied by David Austin Roses are English Roses chosen to give a long display over the whole season. In total I have planted 22 rose bushes in each bed with 7 different varieties in each bed. Over time these will grow into what I hope will be a fabulous riot of colour and smell as you enter the garden, as well as adding to the cut flowers for the estate in the other beds.
Just beyond the roses beds I have laid a small lawn enclosed again by sleepers and flanked by an existing beech hedge. I think that the lush green of the grass will be a nice contrast to the vegetable beds a pleasing backdrop to the roses.
Sowing and planting of the vegetables and salads is well underway with Broad Beans, Peas, Onion, Shallots, Garlic, Cabbage, Cauliflowers and potatoes already planted and a large variety of other vegetables in the propagation tunnel waiting to join them.
So all in all there has been a lot of work undertaken and a lot of progress made but still loads to do, areas to be developed, and plans to be put in place. Please feel free to come up to the garden as I do look forward to welcoming you if you are staying at Ardtornish, a resident of the area or just passing through. The garden is open Mon, Tues, Thurs and Friday from 9-5 and vegetables can be ordered by contacting the estate office.