29/09/2014

Free Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens Wallpaper for your PC!

For a limited period only, here is a free Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens wallpaper picture for your PC! 

This particular one marks our Apple Weekend Event on 4th - 5th October 2014.

To download the picture, click on it below in order to see the full high-definition photograph. Then right click on it and select 'Save Picture As' or 'Save Image As' (or whatever the equivalent is on your browser - sorry, there are so many variations out there it's impossible to be definitive). 

You can then save the picture anywhere you like and use it as background wallpaper for your desktop as per your operating system instructions.

This picture takes up valuable space on this blog, so it won't be available for long: Grab it while you can!

Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens - September 2014

This picture is licenced for non-commercial use only.

Please note you download this photograph at your own risk. Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens Trust accepts no liability for any problems with your computer arising as a result of downloading this photograph.

If you are in any doubt as to the suitability of this picture for your computer, it is recommended that you obtain specialist advice before downloading.



Creative Commons Licence
Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens - September 2014 by Graham High is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

25/09/2014

COME TO OUR APPLE WEEKEND CELEBRATION - 4th and 5th OCTOBER 2014!




No it’s not a weekend of Beatles music (not a bad idea though), nor is it a celebration of various new and nifty electronic gadgets... 


Apple day is in fact an annual celebration held in the UK every October, and although it seems like a tradition dating way back to the dark ages’ (the era when people chased cheeses down a hill, chucked annoying people into peat-bogs, and/or watched ‘Opportunity Knocks’), this celebration actually got off the ground as recently as 1990. It was an idea by the charity and lobby group Common Ground.

Common Ground wanted to create a celebration to promote 'British distinctiveness' (Burning sacrifices in Wicker Men notwithstanding), so they settled on the humble old British apple, yes the crunchy thing that does so much to keep the doctor-of legend away. The apple was symbolic to the charity of local foods, and their impact on community and landscape: Apparently. In fact one of Common Ground's posters stated 'The apple you eat is the landscape you create'. No, that's not a quote from 'Kung Fu'.




Anyway, here at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens we use our modest old (in our case very old) apple varieties during the apple day celebrations to mark our substantial harvest at this time of the year, and to check if our visitors' taste-buds are still working. Can you appreciate real apples after spending years munching polished, blemish-free, watery, sweet-yet-otherwise-tasteless supermarket dross?  Are you tired of eating apple pies or turnovers filled with spray-on green wallpaper paste? Then come to our Apple Weekend and celebrate some real food.

You may not know this, but us folks at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens were born rebels; so instead of having one Apple Day, we're having an APPLE WEEKEND on Saturday and Sunday 4th and 5th October. What's more, visitors who buy a ticket on Saturday can also come back on Sunday at no extra admission cost. Is there no end to this madness?

SO...

Here's what's happening:

Saturday

On Saturday there's a sort-of contemplative sedate feel to things: Visitors can have a darn good look around our gardens to absorb the history, colour, aroma, and beauty of this hidden gem of a place. You might even get shown around if you ask one of our friendly volunteers! 




Our Green House will be displaying loads of heritage variety apples from our own and other orchards, with a tame garden expert on hand to explain how they were cultivated, and to show home gardeners how to do it themselves.

You can even pause for a little while and reflect on such evocative apple variety names as: Colonel Vaughan, Cornish Aromatic, Golden Pippin, Nonpareil, Margil, Catshead, Calville D Hiver, Crimson Queening, Old Pearmain, and Coeur De Boeuf.

Sounds like the 4:30 at Epsom doesn't it?



Not to be outdone, our heritage vegetables (ranging from the 18th to early 20th centuries) will also be showing themselves off on display. These things have lots of flavour too, and to prove it you will all have a chance to buy some of these wonders in for own kitchen creations!




Visitors who like things livelier (or if you visited on Saturday and want to get another visit in at no extra cost) will love what's happening on Sunday.

Sunday

First off, we'll be pressing some of our apples into juice so that you can sample their fine flavour first hand, and lots of old-fashioned garden activities will be played on the Archery Lawn. These include: snap apple, apple printing, an apple themed hunt around the garden (for the kids) and willow crown making.

We’ll also be selling home-made pies and cakes possessed of such flavour and quality that Mr. Kipling will go home weeping.  Yes, these fine comestibles will be made using our apples as the main ingredient! A famous local historian (Magazine available in all good newsagents) on his -now cancelled- BBC radio programme called our cakes 'almost-legendary', and as an historian – so he knows a thing or two about cake...




If you enjoy a little choreography with your fruit then the fabulous Glorishears of Brummagem will perform Molly Dancing at set times throughout the day. By the way did you know that an ex-Lady Mayoress of Birmingham is a long time member of this troupe? Well you know now:- isn’t the internet wonderful?!



Those you are who are regular visitors to Castle Bromwich will know that we have our own wild birds of prey patrolling the local skyline ensuring that the local rodent population stays in a constant state of terror.  It’s not easy getting to see birds of prey at very close quarters though (unless you are a mouse with milliseconds left to live), but on you’ll be able to do just that as we’re playing host to a falconry exhibition. These birds are magnificent examples of native wildlife, and are well worth the price of admission just to see and find out more about these amazing creatures.


Had enough yet? Well tough, because we have much more. The amazingly talented West Midlands Woodturners will be turning (sorry) up and dropping the jaws of all visitors with their skill, whilst those who want even more wildlife can visit our local beekeeper for the latest on what’s happening to our native bee population, a subject that concerns us all.





Speaking of concern (especially to the adults), a longest apple peel competition will be held. All adults can enter, but be warned: The standard is high -  the competition lethal - so you'd better whip out that peeler and start practising right now!

Our Apple Weekend has something for everyone, so for those of you looking for excuses not to visit, just forget it and get down here! You owe it to yourselves to come and see this palace of horticultural splendours. Full details are available here.


You'll be so thrilled you may have to be restrained! 



Do you have some spare time to help us out over the weekend as a volunteer? Then please do so! Contact us for full details. Free bar of gold bullion for every volunteer – sorry did I say gold bullion? I meant a resounding heart-felt thank you from all of us.

See you there!
 
 Creative Commons Licence
Photographs taken by Graham High and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

02/08/2014

Jaguar Land Rover project II

Following on from our previous post on the Jaguar Land Rover project, the completed Bird-hide and wildlife area that was so kindly constructed for us by JLR's team of volunteers was officially opened on 24th July 2014.

The honours were undertaken by Joe McNamara, Chair of the Group and Lean Manufacturing Manager at Jaguar Land Rover, who followed up the proceedings with an additional financial donation for bird-feeder seed. So there will probably be some very heavy birds flying around the area soon as we rapidly develop into an avian fine-dining establishment!

Joe added his voice to the gratitude that we all felt for the dedicated JLR volunteer team's efforts to enhance the quality of life in our local community.

An additional shout of thanks also must go to Signarama for donating the lovely full colour wildlife guides dotted around the area. These fantastic efforts and achievements will be put to good use both for our visitor and educational programmes.

Joe McNamara and some of the JLR Volunteers pictured by our new Bird-hide 
presenting members of the CBHG team with bird feed-fund finance!

The exterior of our fantastic new Bird-hide.

You will be able to spot them soon!

The birdie restaurant as viewed through a slot in our new hide.

Our newly planted wildlife garden-area.

...and again!

Whilst all the was fuss was going on, our Moorhens remained signally unimpressed!



 Creative Commons Licence
The Photographs were taken by Yvonne and Graham High and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
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17/06/2014

Jaguar Land Rover project

Jaguar Land Rover chose the Garden for their Business in the Community project, and spent 5 days at the Garden to complete a new Bird Viewing Hide and wildlife friendly area.  The area selected is between the North Pond and the recently restored Mirror Pond.  They brought a team of 17 enthusiastic employees and two excellent team leaders.

The site they worked on was initially overgrown with tall herbs and brash, which they strimmed  and tidied up efficiently.  The strimming work carried on all week in other areas of the Garden. The teams also stacked the brash to make new habitat piles in the area.  One of the advantages of the site chosen, is that there is a large holly hedge nearby, which provides a refuge for the small woodland birds to retreat to after feeding.

Whilst they were waiting for the materials for the bird viewing hides to be ordered, the team kindly took on a wide range of other jobs in the Garden, which helped us immensely.  These included a major project in the Batty Langley Kitchen Garden, edging and weeding round borders, and planting out late summer vegetables such as squashes, and pumpkins.  They also lifted three borders of box hedging in the Lower Wilderness area, as part of our programme to improve access to viewing the snowdrop & hellebore collection in the deciduous borders, and helped to prepare the Dahlia border in the Best Garden.  On the final day the bird hides were put in place, complete with feeders,  and a new compost viewing area with a Perspex screen was constructed.  This should help children and families to observe the insects, invertebrates, amphibians and small mammals, which will hopefully start to use this habitat in the future.



 Bird viewing Hide, showing the bird viewing windows,
set at different heights, for adults, children & disabled visitors


New compost viewing habitat, with Perspex screen
for youngsters and visitors to observe the wildlife making
use of these areas in the Garden

The Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens Trust is very grateful to Jaguar Land Rover for all the excellent  work carried out to achieve this  project, which will in time become a great new feature in the Garden, as the birds & wildlife start to make use of this habitat and the feeding stations.

We also appreciated all the additional work in the Garden which the team carried out, throughout their project at the Garden.

Chris Hitchcock
Head Gardener

26/04/2014

Later flowering heritage daffodils

We planted a selection of these heritage daffodils last autumn, in a shady area of the Garden to allow them to increase undisturbed. The previous blog on heritage daffodils illustrated a few of the earlier flowering ones.

Here is a few photos of the later flowering historic daffodils, which were planted out in a raised bed in this 17th/18th Century formal Walled Garden.

 


 
Narcissus radiiflorus var. radiiflorus
 
 
 
 
Narcissus radiiflorus var. Poetarum
(On the left, as you view the photo)
Narcissus radiiflorus var. radiflorus G strain
(On the right side of this raised bed)
 
I have also added an additional photo of one  our later flowering heritage daffodils:
 
 
 
Narcissus White Lady



14/04/2014

Spring daffodil display

The Gardens currently has an excellent display of daffodils, including Narcissus Trena at the front of our main herbaceous border (My Lady's Border).  We also have a good flowering of daffodils on the North Wall Border including Narcissus Wheal Coates and Narcissus Andrew's Choice (illustrated below)

 
 
 
 
A new addition to our daffodil collection this season has been the introduction of heritage daffodils.  These have been sourced from various specialist supplies, with the aim of linking in with our project to grow on period correct plants in the Garden.  Our historic daffodils currently in flower include Narcissus Lady Margaret Boscawen, Narcissus Colleen Bawn, and Narcissus Barri Conspicuus, (which is illustrated below). A full list of our daffodils will be available to visitors to our Garden.
 
 

 
 
 

 

28/02/2014

Virgin Media Group Working Party

A Virgin Media (Birmingham) Group visited the Garden on Friday 21st February, as part of their Community Project support contribution.  This enthusiastic team took part in coppicing Hazels in our coppice area.  These were cut right back to near ground level, and graded into pea sticks, flower stakes and bean poles for use in the Kitchen Garden and Herbaceous Borders this season.



The hazel trees will soon regrow, within 2-3 years, and then can be coppiced again on a 5-7 year rotation.  Removing the dense shrub cover in the coppice area, also encourages the spread of woodland wildflowers, such as bluebells, wild daffodils, winter aconites and anemones.

They also planted shrubs in the Upper Wilderness borders as part of the restoration of the 18th Century tiered linear planting scheme in this area.

Thank you Virgin Media and Sustain who organised the day, for a very good day's work in this heritage garden.  We look forward to welcoming another two groups from Virgin Media in March 2014 to continue the Upper Wilderness project.