Monthly garden update: May

Garden Manager Andrew delights in sharing ‘the darling buds of May’ (mostly bluebells) with Chawton House visitors

Bluebells galore!

This month started with two very good Bluebell estate walks. The first was for twenty-two visitors and included a full English breakfast in the price. The weather was glorious and although most people didn’t know each other, we all had a very sociable time hiking through our southern woodland belts. There were thousands of English Bluebells on display throughout the woodlands and we enjoyed looking at various other native flowers and trees. The breakfast was well received after a two-hour hike in the heat!

My second tour was for a private booking – a group of ten people who then had lunch in our tearoom and a self led tour of the house and our current Gothic exhibition. I had lots of very positive feedback both for my tour and the property itself, which always gives me a buzz!

Relocating the shepherd’s hut

One of our bigger projects this month was relocating the shepherd’s hut from the outer drive to within the garden adjacent to the Lime Avenue. This is something I had been meaning to do for ages so it was good to finally getting around to doing the deed. I had a few sleepless nights leading up to the day as I was worried about how well the hut would cope with being moved and also whether our tractor was big enough for the job! As it turned out I needn’t have worried and all went very smoothly. Now it is in the garden I can leave the door open or at least unlocked so that visitors can look or go inside. It is positioned in a more logical place historically…within the trees but with views of the parkland to keep an eye on the sheep. Although called ‘the shepherd’s hut’ the gamekeepers who would move it around the estate whilst patrolling for poachers etc. We will be looking to create an interpretation board to hang inside and perhaps furnish it to some degree…

Change of career to professional photographer?

Alliums have been putting on a good display across the garden and visitors often stop and photograph these plants. A recent picture I took in the walled garden of Alliums with a blue door in the background has been spotted by an author who would like to use it as the cover of her latest book. Of course I have given her permission and can’t wait to get my copy to show off to people!

The three chickens I introduced to the walled garden (Mrs Elton, Emma and Harriet) have all settled in really well and providing us with a regular supply of fresh and delicious eggs. I let them out of their run in the morning so that they can explore the entire walled garden but they love to follow me around and keep an eye on what I might unearth for them whilst gardening! They are a big draw for our visitors too – I wish I had done this ages ago but at least now we are enjoying their company and antics.

So, June is upon us and I have a very busy month ahead with walks and talks both here and elsewhere…but more about these in my next blog! Until then…


Garden Manager