Chiswick House & Gardens this festive season
I am writing this on a sunny and crisp winter morning gazing at Venus de medici from my office window. Thank goodness I am warmer than she is! As the festive season begins, we thought we would share a little of what is happening behind the scenes with the gardeners and volunteers here at the Chiswick House & Gardens Trust. Many may think that this is a time of year when not a lot happens on the estate, a myth I’m afraid – Gardeners never hibernate…
First looking at our award-winning Kitchen Garden; the garden is still producing winter vegetables, and despite the cold our team are on hand for you to buy these from our Kitchen Garden cart. The cart is out Tuesday and Thursday 11:30 – 12:30 outside the café and from 13:30 – 15:30 outside the Kitchen Garden. We have a large selection of potatoes including very nice Maris piper for roasting, Cara for mashing and Sapo Mira for baking. We also have lots of everybody’s favourite Brussel sprouts! Finally from the cart we have the last of this year’s Chiswick House Estate Honey (a lovely stocking filler), as well as the Friends of Chiswick House Christmas Cards.
This week the Kitchen Garden Volunteers and Trust staff (including the office staff!) have been busy making wreaths (as you can see from the pictures) using foliage gathered from the estate. These are available to buy from the 11th December. The wreaths and foliage for decorating will be available at the ‘Chiswick House Friends’ Carol service outside Chiswick House on Saturday 15th December. We will be there from 14:00 until 15:30, so do pop along to decorate your front door and join in a carol or two.
In our Melon House cuttings of Geraniums, Pelargoniums and Salvias are being prepared along with early sowings of broad beans. The Camellias in our conservatory are putting out their first flowers. Don’t worry there will be plenty of blooms left for the Camellia Show which takes place in March and this year we have a competition for you to enter your own Camellia blooms. More information to follow in the New Year.
Whilst Gavin Jones are busy gathering leaves the Goosefoot gardeners are in conservation mode. Now is the time where we can remove saplings and small trees that have seeded in the wilderness areas to allow room for the native plants to establish; reduce laurel heights in areas around the estate to maintain the 18th century landscape; and coppice Hazel and create dead hedging to encourage insects and protect areas to allow natural flora to grow back. Winter is also the time of year that we carry out work on the lake. We have cleared the Ivy and bramble from the lake front at the cascade and will be working on both of the Islands to reduce bramble and invasive species to create room for nesting in the spring for the ducks, geese and hopefully Swans.
And if you think we’re are not busy enough during the day, the gardens are equally worth a visit in the evening for our new winter light trail ‘After Dark’. This new event running from 17:00 until 22:00 on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. The Estate is beautifully lit up to showcase the amazing Palladian Villa built by Lord Burlington and the 18th Century landscape. If you have not visited yet, I thoroughly recommend you do.