With the gardens here at Chawton House Library bursting back into life, our Head Gardener Alan Bird has written a blog post about the wonderful sights and smells around the grounds this May:
The garden is suddenly looking very green, with the leaves returning to the trees in the lime avenue and across the parkland. There are plenty of delicious scents in the spring air with the apple trees covered in pretty white blossom in the walled kitchen garden and the Cercis or ‘Judas tree’ with its stunning deep pink flowers in bloom.
This tree is my favourite in the garden. Like the pea, it is from the Leguminosae family and has edible flowers that dangle directly from all parts of the wood, even the trunk. According to myth, it was given its named after Judas Iscariot hung himself from a tree of this species.
Clusters of white scented flowers have also been produced in profusion by the Rosa Banksiae Flora Plena which climbs the south wall of the Library alongside fragrant honeysuckle. Chawton House Library’s bees have certainly been enjoying the flowers in bloom, as our beekeeper has already collected honey from our very active hives in the walled garden and parkland.
We have been working hard to replant flowerbeds in the Edwardian upper and lower terraces, believed to have been designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944) who was often described as the greatest British architect of his age. There has also been plenty of work to do, fertilizing and mulching in the memorial rose garden and harvesting our organic rhubarb to sell to visitors. We have been very glad to have an extra pair of hands in the form of garden apprentice Rebecca Lloyd. Rebecca has joined us for two days a week through the Women’s Farm and Garden Association’s Women Returning to Agriculture and Gardening scheme. We have been providing Rebecca with hands-on practical horticultural training so that she can fulfill her dream of a career in gardening.
We are set for a beautiful summer in the garden, with plenty of rose buds out already and a bumper crop of apples expected. Come and experience the wonderful sights and smells of the Chawton House Library gardens for yourself – we are open Tuesday to Friday afternoons from 1.00 pm to 4.30 pm.