There seems to be no rhyme or reason why some things stick in the memory and others do not. For me, the month of October always brings back memories of school days. When everyone would bring in bags stuffed with wonky marrows or gluts of runner beans or else tinned stuff for the harvest festival. The morning assembly would be led by the local vicar and would include a loud though not very tuneful rendition of ‘All things Bright and Beautiful’. Mainly I suspect this hymn was chosen because it was cheery, repetitive and everyone could get the hang of it quickly and sing along. It could also be bashed out fairly well on even the most dilapidated piano.
First published in 1848 as a children’s poem and written by Cecil Frances Alexander the verses extoll generally the beauty and wonders of nature but also the ripe fruits of the garden where the hand of man is abundantly evident.
Ripeness is certainly in evidence at Goldstone this October. Our espalier trained apples and pears are holding prodigious quantities of fruit. Our most venerable fruit tree is a stately cooking apple ‘Bramley’ just at the bottom of the herbaceous border. Our chef has found a particularly splendid use turning the large fruits into a wonderful apple sorbet. This was recently enjoyed by guests at out taste of autumn event which combined a tour of the garden led by Sarah and a delicious seasonal lunch. We hold such events throughout the year as an RHS partner garden and its always worth booking onto one as a special day out or as part of your stay. Our dessert apples ripen over a long season beginning with ‘Discovery’ whilst the wonderfully tart ‘Egremont Russet’ with its slightly furry skin won’t really be ready until Christmas and will persist on the tree into the New Year.
Elsewhere in the vegetable garden the pumpkins and squashes, including gourds and butternut squash are finding their way to the table. Also ripe and ready are sweetcorn cobs. I like mine steamed or roasted with lashings of good butter but sweetcorn panna cotta…delicious! Incidentally the stalks of sweetcorn and sunflowers when chopped up make an excellent source of carbonaceous material for the compost heap and balance out the high nitrogen content of softer, greener material.
In the main garden we have been starting to try and get the lawns up to scratch. This involved using two machines. Firstly a hollow tine aerator and secondly a verticutter. Between them these open up the soil in the root zone allowing air and moisture to penetrate and relieving compaction. It looks a bit drastic to start with but once the machines have done their bit and the mess been tided away we have over sown with a new and hopefully resilient seed mix. There is still plenty of warmth and moisture in the soil for the seed to germinate and establish before winter.
The herbaceous border continues to provide interest with asters and sedums giving good colour. In the wild flower area autumn crocus open to catch the slightest drop of low sunshine. With Cecil Frances Alexander’s encouragement in mind and with eyes to see and lips to tell why not celebrate all the gifts of the garden with us here at Goldstone this autumn.
Best wishes from the Garden Team!
A Georgian manor house and restaurant with 12 comfortable bedrooms overlooking the rolling tree-strewn hills of the North Shropshire countryside. Boasting 5 acres of award-winning gardens, including a productive one-acre kitchen garden.