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- April and May in the Parsonage Garden

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The area .. is filled up by a crowded churchyard, and a small garden or court in front of the clergyman’s house…the path goes round the corner into the little plot of ground. Underneath the windows is a narrow flower-border, carefully tended in days of yore, although only the most hardy plants could be made to grow there. Within the stone wall…are bushes of elder and lilac; the rest of the ground is occupied by a square grass plot and a gravel walk.
(Elizabeth Gaskell describing the parsonage garden in ‘The Life of Charlotte Bronte’ (1857)

Well, anyone who has visited the parsonage will, I imagine, still recognise the garden today from Mrs Gaskell’s description. Of course there are many more mature trees in and around the garden walls than there were nearly 200 years ago.

Unfortunately, nobody is visiting the garden at present apart from our small band of volunteer gardeners. We have been doing our best to keep the garden fresh and tidy largely during one pre-arranged morning a week where we go in to do our separate tasks at different set times and in different parts of the garden so as to socially distance ourselves. We are very lucky to be able to do this but it is such a shame that we are not open to the public for the garden to be enjoyed more widely.
The garden is approaching its best time of year as the growth and the variety of foliage is evident along with the different colours of the late spring flowers which are coming into bloom. There are at present pretty sprays of purple honesty popping up in various places, along with colourful aquilegia and campion, giving a lovely cottage feel to the garden.  Although the roses are not yet out one can see that they are thriving and we should have a fabulous show by early summer.

It has been especially dry over recent weeks and one regular task on our weekly visit has been to give everywhere a good hosing. This has been vital to ensure some of the more sensitive and shallow rooted plants as well as those in tubs survive. So far all seems well in that regard.

We are very sorry that we cannot share the garden with you but hope you enjoy some of the photographs. There are three photos included of bushes (yellow azalea, flowering currant and white lilac – remember Mrs.G’s description) that have been profuse in flowering. These are not in the main garden, rather on the edge of the parsonage grounds, not available to the public view but they were just too beautiful not to show you and they just seemed to deserve their day in the limelight!
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