November Garden Update
With the temperatures of the last few days dipping down much lower than they have been, we saw the first small frost of the year to Heligan on the 6th. There is a definite hint of winter breaking through the autumn atmosphere, however, up until now temperatures have been above average. If we look back over the last couple of years, this seems to be a new trend for the autumn season. Once again, this has confused some of our plants into unseasonal blooms; the rhododendrons on Flora’s Green are budding and beginning to flower, along with the ‘Sasanqua’ camellia in the Italian Garden.
On the Farm
Last month we mentioned that our Golden Guernsey Goats were being treated to their very own hand built goat palace! We are pleased to say that this is finished, and they can now be seen snuggling in their cosy straw bed in the mornings or admiring the view from their new veranda. The next instalment will be a goat see-saw and an ‘air raid’ style poultry shelter, with a grass roof, that will no doubt double up as another goat perch!
There are now only a few weeks until our Christmas lunches are being served in the Heligan Kitchen. The menu will boast grass-reared Heligan rare breed meat, as well as, ‘soil to plate’ vegetarian options, so everyone can enjoy a truly scrumptious Heligan festive feast.
This time of year, things are starting to quieten down wildlife wise. Foxes in the estate are now foraging alone and the badgers are leaving their setts less and less. Most insects are now overwintering in their pupae stage or are in winter hibernation.
The feeders behind the Hide are becoming busier & busier with finches, tits and nuthatches as the temperature drops. Now’s a really good time to head down to the Hide to sit, watch and enjoy the birdlife. Jays are also busy around the estate gathering acorns, you will hear them squawk before seeing them, so keep your eyes peeled.
(insert picture of jay with acorn)
We are still eagerly awaiting the arrival of migratory birds such as, redwing and fieldfare, which tend to gather in the Poultry Orchard and Lantavy Field. Now that winter is almost here they should arrive soon!
There is still an abundance of fungi growing in low lit damp areas and many types of fungi have been spotted all over the Estate. We are keeping a regular photographic update of the fungi we are seeing on social media, so for all fungi lovers out there, tune in and enjoy!
In the Gardens
In the Kitchen Garden, double digging continues and will be a theme throughout the winter to ensure the soil structure is ready for the new year and growing season. In addition to this, there is a wealth of bed clearance happening in the same spirit as the double digging, which will make way for new spring plantings.
From soil to plate this month, the Productive Gardens will be sending; leeks, beetroot, fennel, sage and rosemary up to the Kitchen. Keep an eye on our daily menu board to see how this influences our chef’s dishes for the month. Also, being harvested this month are our Chinese artichokes. The name says it all, they originate from China and are a perennial herbaceous plant. Described as having a nutty flavour, the Chinese artichoke is prepared similarly to Jerusalem artichokes in cooking.
In the Melon Yard, the Pineapple Pits have seen some propagation, with the new cuttings being potted up, to start their new life as independent pineapples.
The asparagus beds are being prepped this month ready to be planted and we will make our annual pilgrimage to Portmellon Beach to collect up, by the trailer load, lots of fresh seaweed! Seaweed is used as a successful soil conditioning mulch for asparagus and this is always a much-anticipated event….so stay tuned over the next few weeks!
The Jungle is experiencing some clearance work, with large sections being cleared close to 3rd pond, to make way for new plantings. Winter is also the time for repairs and maintenance with many of the pathways being serviced in preparation for a new season’s walking.
As we head deeper into Autumn and nearer to winter, leaf clearance is a daily task and with around 13 acres of northern gardens to do this in, you can imagine how popular this task is with the gardeners. The leaves we collect, we keep and put on the compost heap; eventually giving back their nutrients to the land and lending a growing hand for new plantings.
And finally, the Woodland Walk is being planted with thousands of bulbs and come the spring, from the Ticket Office to Valentines field will be awash with daffodil sunshine, 70,000 rays of daffodil sunshine to be precise!