It is not too late to plant any of those last bulbs you have lurking at home (or find for half price at the plant centre). Get them in by Christmas on a day when the ground isn’t frozen and they will still perform, even if a little late. Or put them in old pots so that you can fill any gaps in the garden later.
In November at Gardening Club, Alice Palfrey from the National Trust gave us a splendid presentation on Prior Park Landscape Garden in Bath – Ralph Allen’s “sanctuary in the city”. Although he died in 1764, the landscape remained unchanged as the building moved into different use. In 1993, the school (still on site) passed the gardens to the National Trust as funding was unavailable to restore and maintain the landscape. A small staff group and volunteers moved in to clear brambles, stabilise buildings and de-silt lakes, so that the grounds could open to the public and begin to raise revenue from 1996.
Little is known about the planning, which was mostly done at the request of Mrs Allen. However a receipt for consultancy from Capability Brown is in the Bath Museum and many of the concealing and revealing views of the city of Bath below, are typical of Brown’s style.
The garden relies mostly on trees and shrubs for effect, but there are many bulbs, including, snowdrops, daffodils and fritillaries set off by primroses and later, huge drifts of wild garlic. The landscape brings in large numbers of birds and butterflies, admired now by 40,000 visitors a year. It is cared for by two gardeners and twelve dedicated volunteers and there are regular events throughout the year, including wreath making at Christmas, a snowdrop walk in February and wild garlic cooking demonstrations in Spring. Gardening Club hope to visit in 2017 and please do take a look at the Prior Park Gardens website.
In December we have our Club social event and there is no meeting in January. On 2nd February our speaker is Dawn Collins who will be talking about design in the garden. In the meantime, we wish you all a very happy Christmas-time and look forward to the new gardening year. If you would like to ask about Gardening Club, do please ring, or come along as a guest to one of our meetings or our lovely garden visits planned for 2017. We normally meet at 7.30 pm on the first Thursday of the month, in Edington Parish Hall. Refreshments served and everyone made welcome.