News & What's On News / Blog
- Autumn 2021 in the Parsonage Garden

Our gardeners' blog
‹‹ Back to News & What's On
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day.
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.
                                                 EJB 1838
What a strange year! - and sad too: we lost our little Jack Russell, Stan, in May which was a massive blow to Stephen and me.   Stan had not been feeling great for a while, I can’t say that he was suffering - although he did have arthritis and I know a lot of us can sympathise with that - I think it was just old age and he had had enough.  After the first rush of sadness, we started to think about what a star he was and how lucky we were to have him in our lives.  He was a multi-talented boy who loved the Parsonage garden so much that I didn’t dare put on my gardening clothes until I was ready to leave the house when I would say to him “shall we go to the garden?” The answer was always the same, he could dig and see off the hens, he loved to greet the visitors - especially our Japanese ladies who would coo and tell him how beautiful he was and he would happily pose for photographs - he is probably one of the best known dogs in Japan - and he also had lots of cuddles from Geoff and Theresa and let’s not forget the biscuits from the staff, everyone loved  him and Stan knew it.
I am also sad to relate that, after 20 years, it is time for me to hang up my hoe, at least for a while as I have to undergo ankle surgery.  Theresa has kindly stepped into my shoes and with the help of Geoff and Christine the Parsonage garden will be in very sound hands - though once I’m back on my feet I shall be helping out as needed.
Right, that’s enough of my news, let’s move on to the garden.  I don’t know how much I can tell you about the filming of the new Railway Children, it’s a bit top secret, but I will say that the garden has a role.  During June, when the weather was beautiful, Theresa and I spent most days in the garden with the film crew, mainly to keep the garden safe but we also got to know the cast and crew and were mucking in with the jobs and thoroughly enjoying ourselves.  The film will come out next spring so that’s something to look forward to.
The garden has never looked better than it has this year.  It was a dry summer, so we did lots of watering to keep the plants comfortable; the leaf cover from the graveyard trees is so dense in summer that even when we have rain it doesn't always get through.  The roses have been stunning. They love the sun, as do many other beautiful plants in the garden.  The challenge is more in the shady beds so in the last couple of years we have put more work and more of our budget into improving them.  We have bought quite a number of pots and containers which enables us to move plants to fill gaps as needed.  Our policy now for the garden is to make it more environmentally friendly - if you see seed heads left on or overflowing foliage, don’t think we’re being lazy, we’ll be leaving these for food and shelter for the wildlife and we are also thinking about how to bring water to the garden without using mains.
It’s a new era; we have the will and the skill of our gardeners, so we intend to do our bit for the planet.
Jenny Whitehead
read more