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- Autumn/Winter 2023 in the Parsonage Garden

The latest news from our gardening volunteers
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"In sunshine, in prosperity, the flowers are very well; but how many wet days are there in life—November seasons of disaster, when a man's hearth and home would be cold indeed, without the clear, cheering gleam of intellect." The Professor by Charlotte Brontë (1857)
As we plunge headlong into our colder months in the garden, we recall with wide smiles our summer beds, bursting with splendid colour, which have now rallied forth into a display of sparkling Michaelmas daisies and late roses. ‘Branwell’ is, once again, looking fiery in the back garden and our new ‘Country Parson’ and ‘Gently tottering by’ roses are putting on a flourishing finale in the shady border.

We were pleased with our renovation of the sunny border this year, and have added even more bulbs for next spring, including stately fritillaries, having also increased our stocks of Hydrangea, Philadelphus and Echinaceas.

Since our last blog, the team held a very successful Big Brontë Garden Swap where queues of keen gardeners gathered to take home our cuttings, plants and seeds, to ask questions and to even give us some plants! We seem to have been particularly successful with our propagation this year and many visitors have enjoyed taking home a potted cutting from the garden. A huge thank you to everyone who took part.

The gardeners also had a very successful time displaying vases of flowers from the Brontë garden at the Haworth Flower Show and we will probably expand our competitive spirit as far as Keighley next year!

We also enjoyed decorating the venue for the Brontë Festival of Women's Writing with fresh greenery, dried alliums and seed heads, but the pièce de résistance was definitely the Brontë bonnet arranged by Claire, fashioned from chicken wire and moss and heather. A true sight to behold!

Apart from every extreme the weather throws at us, desperately dry days and soggy, damp days included, we had another great challenge recently when we inadvertently disturbed a wasps’ nest in a bank of heather in the Courtyard to the rear of the Museum. For the safety of staff, volunteers and visitors, the nest had to be removed. This took several weeks, as the wasps were slow to be enticed into the traps that had been hung around the space. Visitors were not permitted access to the Courtyard during this time, invited to view the glorious garden through the doors instead. We did have to give the wasps their due though, as we were full of admiration for the most intricate layers in their beautiful nest.

What shall we be doing in November’s ‘seasons of disaster’? Well, tidying up the garden a little, foraging berries and greenery for the festive displays in preparation for our Christmas by Candlelight events, perusing plant catalogues for next year’s borders and ,no doubt, planning visits to other gardens for more inspiration.

That said, as we are rarely away from the garden, even in winter, do stop and have a chat if you're passing by, as we brush away the final fallen leaves...
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