As Estate Garden Manager, I am probably the only one among us to welcome the rain! Allow me to explain: June is the busiest month for the Chiswick House and Garden’s team across the Estate. With the help of the volunteers, a flurry of planting in the Italian Gardens and the Kitchen Garden is taking place and the rain saves us the job of watering in the young vegetables and bedding.
It also assists our contractors, Gavin Jones, with repairs carried out to our event areas, which have been reseeded with grass; waters our new meadows located by Park Road, the Rustic House and in front of Chiswick House; and, after a very dry spring, has allowed all our trees to revitalise their roots to give strength to the leafy canopies they have formed.
Of course rain and sunshine also encourage the growth of unwanted plants in our gardens. Yes, even we have weeds! Not to mention that the grass grows in hyper speed. Whilst a month’s rain in one day is not ideal, at least we are not having to heave heavy hoses all over the Estate, as was the case last year.
As we finesse the gardens into fantastic shape for all the weddings and amazing events we have this Summer, as well as in preparation for London in Bloom judging, I would like to share with you and thank a number of partnerships that assist us during our busiest time.
A massive thank you, first and foremost, to our amazing Goosefoots and Kitchen Garden Volunteers who, come rain or shine, will endeavour gardening across the Estate. Our new partnership with La Trompette is also a fantastic asset, albeit one that generates lots of friendly envy between us and the Michelin star restaurant as to who is leading on tomatoes, radishes and beans! Our partnership thrives on us providing advice to them on growing and their reciprocal support of purchasing vegetables, fruit and spuds that we have the space to grow. A win win in my books!
Jake, our Ranger, has been brilliant at managing the maintenance of our Ionic Temple Pond: three solid days of personally removing weed! On top of painting; cleansing of railings and bins; and, managing our Volunteers Rangers, who too have got in the act and have refurbished our cold frame in the Kitchen Garden and one amazing trolley! Thank you.
The great strength of the Trust team is that everyone mucks in! The Events team have helped with woodchipping and weeding along with our fundraising team, who also obtained us additional funding for tools and for the creation of our Knot Garden.
The Gavin Jones team of Jaimie, Gary and Phil have completed amazing work on the Grove (tree lifting), Dukes Avenue and lake maintenance that we carry out at this time of year. They have also given the cricket square a spruce, in preparation for us hosting a few games again this Summer for the English Cricket Board and the community.
We are also very grateful for the support of our regular younger gardeners in the Kitchen Garden, including a local special educational needs school and the Little Forest Folk, which whilst educational and fun is also very helpful to maintaining the Estate.
To my absolute delight our community partnerships have grown. We have been assisted by the Good Gym, a running club who combine regular exercise with helping the community, they have spent a couple of evenings mulching and moving soil in the new Knot Garden. As part of Sainsbury’s 150 year birthday celebrations the company has launched 150 days of volunteering. Managers from the Sainsbury local on Chiswick High Road and Sainsbury’s local on the Kings Road have joined the gardening team to assist with weeding. A very appreciative thank you.
I would like to end by personally thanking our team of gardeners and Chris, Dee and Andy. Thank you always for growing the extra mile, staying beyond your hours and for your unwavering commitment to the Estate.
Have fun, enjoy and respect the Estate.