Oct 292014
Improving the front of the house

When we moved in to Bracken House six years ago, the gardens were unsightly and tatty, while the land surrounding the gardens was overgrown and full of weeds. After a year of ‘seeing what comes up’ we decided to get in a team of landscape gardeners who ripped up the old borders and lawns and transformed the gardens. The work on the gardens and adjacent meadows was completed in early summer 2010 and I then tried to maintain the gardens myself. After four years of struggling, I decided that I wanted to sit back and enjoy the garden, and not spending all [Read more]

Feb 132014
Despite the storms, Spring is beginning to appear

The Winter of 2013/4 has been the wettest and windiest so far experienced at Bracken House, but despite the record-breaking weather, Spring is showing definite signs of returning. Despite the flooded fields and waterlogged flower borders, spring bulbs have already poked through the mud. Snowdrops are in flower under the hedges, with crocuses, tulips and daffodils likely to be in flower in a couple of weeks. In the meadows, wild primroses have been flowering for two or three weeks now, adding some welcomed colour to the grassy areas. The wildlife too is sensing the return of Spring. The wood pigeons, [Read more]

Jan 232014
Preparing for Spring

With over 50 trees in the gardens of Bracken House, preparing them for the new growing season is a time-consuming task. The trees are a mixture of fruit trees and native trees. Each of these trees has now been pruned, had weeds cleared from their bases and had protectors placed around their trunks to prevent damage. 2013 was an excellent growing season, and the trees, which have been planted for almost four years, are beginning to fill out. The laurel hedge surrounding the car park is also thickening nicely and will need a light trim before the main growing season [Read more]

Nov 162013
Much work needed on wildflower meadow

When I had the landscaping work done at Bracken House, one area I was keen to create was a wildflower meadow. I have always liked wildflower meadows of all types, especially buttercup meadows, poppy fields and fields of annuals creating different colours as each variety started to bloom. The area next to the paddocks, between the pond and the grazing fields, is the area I have set aside for wildflowers. It is now three years since the landscaping project was completed and the wildflower meadow is nowhere near to what I had in mind. The main problem I have met [Read more]

Oct 052013
First and last frost days

With winter approaching, now is the proper time to take a look at when frost has arrived at Bracken House since records began in October 2009. There are two types of frosts that are mentioned in weather forecasts, air frost and ground frost. An air frost is when the temperature at a height of about four feet from the ground level falls below 0°C. A ground frost is when the temperature at ground level reaches 0°C. In some cases, a ground frost is recorded when the air temperature is 5°C. In the table below, I have assumed that ground frost [Read more]

May 292013
Rhubarb and asparagus make welcome return to table

Despite the very cold Spring, the plants in the garden at Bracken House are finally starting to catch up. After five months of below average temperatures, plants have been very slow to burst into leaf and flower, but they are now showing signs of catching up. In the vegetable patch, everything is now sown and planted. Asparagus has already been harvested, and lettuce and radish will soon be ready. The peas have disappointed so far, but a few new plants and more seed sowing should have sorted that out. Some of the sweet corn has also been replaced. In the [Read more]

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