Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Autumn Colours at the Abbey House Gardens

Westonbirt Arboretum, about 5 miles down the road from the Abbey House Gardens, has recently got lots of TV coverage on the national BBC news about their Japanese Maple Trees. Through National Forestry research they estimate that around 25% of their Japanese Maple trees are under threat as they have shallow roots and are thus more intolerant to drought - caused by our warming climate (see our almost rainless September just gone!)

These challenges faced by Westonbirt are also similar to those faced by our gardens. At the last count we had over 100 Japanese Maple trees that we purchased direct from Westonbirt. Our maple trees are littered around but largely in the river gardens. Its incredibly important to keep these maples well watered during any months that experience anomalies in weather conditions.

Westonbirt is famous for its Autumn colours and lots of day visitors to the Arboretum also call in at the Abbey House Gardens to make a full day in the Cotswolds. If you want a colour hit to contrast with the autumnal browns then you might be surprised to know we have lots of Roses still in bloom. Indeed one of our visitors on the 1st October wrote in our comments book:

'Wonderful roses in October, scent so unexpected.'

All this talk of Autumn reminded us of the lovely descriptive poem by John Keats. Keep these words in mind if you visit our gardens in October, a perfect narrative to what you might find...

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

'Natures Rich Weave' Art Exhibition - Opening Night Photos at the Abbey House Gardens

What a perfect night for the latest Art show at the Abbey House Gardens. The title of the show is 'Natures Rich Weave' An exhibition of work by Liz Watts and Melissa Wishart. The exhibition knits together painting, sculpture, textiles and words. The exhibition opened on Thursday 1st October and continues until Sunday 11th October.

The exhibition knits together painting, sculpture, textiles and words and some works have spread themselves into the actual gardens.

The show opens when the gardens open 11am until 5pm and its Free admission with the price of the garden ticket.

Honey Fungus Mushroom: Nasty but Tasty

The sudden change from September drought to October showers brings fresh challenges to the Abbey House Gardens. Spotted in the beds adjacent to the top lawn today was a rather unwelcome visitor, the Honey Fungus Mushroom. It absolutely loves old trunks and stumps as a place to grow, its probably sprung from the old Cherry Tree that once presided in that area of the gardens.
Below is a picture of the fungus, its an absolute enemy of all gardeners as its one of the most dangerous parasites for trees, causing an intensive white rot and ultimately death to any plant it infects. Not a welcome addition to the Rose beds. Its been dealt with immediately and all the roots and spores hopefully destroyed.

The Honey Fungus Mushroom does have some redeeming qualities, its non poisonous and edible. Ian is trying a clump with his breakfast after a bit of prep work. Fingers crossed as the nearest A&E is 10 miles away.

A fascinating and beautiful story attached to the Honey Mushroom Fungus relates back to Medieval times. The root (or Rhizomorph) of the mushroom that flourishes in the earth makes it way through the soil to find a tree or plant to infect. If you manage to catch one of the roots and then examine it in the dark you should find that its luminous. In medieval times they considered the roots to have healing qualities and used them to light hay barns and other ancient dwellings with clusters of them gathered together. These luminous roots developed the first ever notion of the 'magic wand'!!!