Old Hall Gardens

What's Happening?

See what we've been up to in the gardens!

Thursday 06 September 2018

After a long hot summer, the grass is finally growing faster than the Council mowers can keep up with! So we made a start by trimming the edges around the Dragon Garden. The Willow Cave was also in need of a good haircut!

Rob discovered that the Tulip Tree, which was in flower a few weeks ago, is now home to Harlequin Ladybirds and wasps, all feeding on aphids. We found at least four different Harlequin Ladybirds. They are quite different from our native species, and can be easily distinguished by the bright white markings on their heads.

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Rob managed to put together the full life cycle of the Harlequin within just a few leaves! We spotted: 

  • two differently patterned ladybirds mating
  • a few leaves with batches of eggs (bottom right: note the aphids for the grubs to feed on when they hatch!); 
  • a harlequin pupa (bottom left); 
  • and a harlequin chrysalis (top right) - this will turn into an adult ladybird.
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Thursday 12 July 2018

If you are walking through the gardens near the library, take a close look at the Tulip tree which is now in bloom.

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And as you pass near the magnificent Lime tree you can enjoy its heady scent; it doesn’t last for long, and we wish we could bottle it!

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The grass, meanwhile, is evidence of the weeks of drought. We are definitely looking forward to some rain now.

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Thursday 05 July 2018

There were not many of us working in the gardens this morning. First, Richard turned up with his electric hedge cutter:

Then John came to help with the shears:

And Margaret arrived in time to clear up their mess!

It was another very hot day, so Biga and Victoria weeded in the shade under the Lime tree.

We enjoyed our coffee break under the Lime also.

Thursday 28 June 2018

The weather has been so hot and dry and that even the ferns suffered in their shady corner of the gardens. Linda and Rob Nottage came to their rescue.

Working in the searing heat were Margaret, John and Richard, propping up the Macleaya which was starting to invade the library!

Thursday 21 June 2018

Rob spotted Blue Damselfies laying their eggs amongst the vegetation of the pond. They were not easy to spot but you can see their flashing blue.

Thursday 14 June 2018

Betty and John set about tidying the path by the Lime tree, cutting back the overhanging branches and trimming the vegetation on either side.

We reckon they did a neat job!

Weekend of 09–10 June 2018

We enjoyed a ‘works outing’ to The Hall at Abbey Cwm Hir on the Saturday.

Some of us stayed overnight nearby and visited Birtsmorton Court, near Malvern, on Sunday. The stunning gardens of this moated medieval manor house were open that afternoon as part of the National Gardens Scheme.

Thursday 07 June 2018

If you stroll through the gardens you may still catch the Philadelphus in bloom. Its fragrant white flowers give it the popular name of Mock orange.

We were busy in the Dragon Garden: Rob was tidying the edges while Victoria declared war on weeds.

The seeds that the Beavers had sown a few weeks ago are coming up strongly now. We look forward to seeing them in flower.

Was John phoning a friend for advice on the mower? Well, he got it going in the end, after an oil change and a good clean… It’s a big job cutting the grass and the council doesn’t come often enough to help at this time of year.

31 May 2018

After much discussion, John set to with the mower to renew the path through the long grass of the Meadow. “There was never a path here before!” exclaimed Rob when he saw that the path had been re-routed… “Well, there is now.” At least the Bistort, flowering on the left of the picture, had been left undisturbed.

Meanwhile, Betty and Victoria busied themselves with weeding near the Lime tree.

Sadly, we do have the occasional damage to plants or property. The Rowan tree, which was promising plenty of berries for the birds, had been deliberately broken; and several of the metal bars that we use to protect plants from being mown down, had been deformed. Fortunately, most of the people who spend time in Old Hall Gardens appreciate the work that goes into creating a pleasant environment for everyone to enjoy.

24 May 2018

Earlier in the year, some frogs were spotted in the pond - and now we have lots of tadpoles! The picture below shows some clinging to a stem of vegetation near the surface. They were not easy to spot but you can just about make them out here - near the white of the bogbean flower.

We saw a lot more a few days later, swimming around. The photograph below has been contrast-enhanced to help you see them - hence the strange colour!

The Judas tree that we transplanted from Linda Osborn’s garden in February last year is doing wonderfully! Sadly, Linda is not well currently and so is not able to join us in Old Hall Gardens to see her tree in full flower. 

Linda: we hope you will enjoy seeing it here!

17 May 2018

The netting that was fixed to the south wall in April is already providing the perfect support for a Clematis.

Thursday 12 April 2018

There was a lot of weeding to be done along the south wall, while Richard and Rob busied themselves with spreading netting over the wall for the clematis to climb up later in the year.

It was a mild day and we downed tools to have our coffee break in situ for a change, instead of huddling indoors to warm up.

The flowers in the meadow enjoyed the improving weather, too. The Fritillaries are putting on the best show we’ve had to date:

and the Cowslips are confirming that spring is here: