Monday, 21 March 2011

I like the Scilla's Best ;-)

The month is quietly slipping by with a focus on March 26th as the first open day of 2011 for Compton Verney, & from a personal perspective; it’s one of the busiest run down’s to an open day I can remember. There’s very good reason for the extra busy pre-opening activities, but I will cover this in more detail in a future post when I have more time & more energy! In the interim, with so much to keep me & my trusty assistant occupied, it is with some frustration that I find myself able only to observe the break of spring, which is happening all around me.

The lawns are looking good on the whole, but the grass is now starting to grow in some areas & is shouting for its first cut of the season, naturally it will have to wait until we can arrange a final ‘stick-tidy’, only then can we look to fire up the ride-on mower. The shrub & herb border’s around the mansion are presentable but need some attention to improve their look. Thankfully, we have some volunteer assistance towards the end of the week which is always a great help & regularly makes a difference when time is in short supply for the grounds staff. (More volunteers welcome!)

In addition to the pressing matters above, there’s much sorting out following tree works that have been carried out over the last few weeks. The arboriculture team have done a grand job dead-wooding our Wellingtonia avenue, but significant amounts of timber has yet to be removed & grass repaired before we can resign this area to straight forward mowing for the season. It’s worth saying that the trees are looking really good following their treatment, & the team have worked very hard to complete this task before we open for the season. Wellingtonia’s aren’t the easiest trees to access & work, & the mature specimens at Compton have received little attention in their lifetime, until now!

Naturally, we can only but chip away at the work, & pray that the weather works with us, rain is needed soon however to help our recent plantings! As mentioned before, we also have 47 newly planted trees to care for, & whilst the water bowser is ready for action, the water bowser ‘users’ are fully committed!

Ok, so now I’ve pleaded my case for pity, & have the opportunity to lighten this post with a splash of colour, plus a reminder of one of the many reasons why this work is so special to me. The word: is ‘surprise’.

Anemone apennina - Compton Verney, Gary Webb

It was just another day at the ranch, in the grounds of Compton Verney, & we were half way through a long week. I was chugging along on my dirty Massey, en-route across the west lawn, when I happened to catch a dash of blue above the woodchip at the foot of a mature Lime tree. It had been some time since the bright yellow Aconites had been swallowed by their spreading foliage, & the Snowdrops were also well & truly ‘in-the-green’. For once, I halted my progress to investigate further, & to my delight I homed in on a gorgeous patch of blue Anemone, or Anemone apennina. The photo is the usual mobile camera shot, therefore isn’t great, but does pick up the lovely colour variance.

As if this wasn’t enough, just a few metres away beneath the large cluster of Limes, appeared another splash of blue; this time belonging to Scilla siberica, the Siberian Squill. As before, I’ve added a mobile photo as a quick record, but as this dainty treasure is one of my favourites (you’ll hear me say that often,) it’s most definitely worth an extra blog post & some decent photographs on another occasion.

Scilla siberica - Compton Verney, Gary Webb
To summarise, there was I going about my business, focused on travelling across the site when these little blue beauties shone out & called me over. As a group, they look fantastic, but up close & personal was just the ticket & more than enough to lift my spirits for the remainder of the day. If you’re within travelling distance from Compton Verney, these little Anemone’s & Scilla’s are, to be honest, the tiniest addition to this special landscape garden, but well worth a look none-the-less.

Well I guess that’s about it for this post, & I hope that you’ll have picked up that although I have to focus on the jobs in hand, I don’t often miss the tiny but significant things that make this career such a special one.

Enjoy the Colour!


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