It’s 2015, and it’s spring, well almost. The garden at The Grove has dramatically changed over the last few years and if all goes to plan, will continue to do so. Here is what is happening.
Three years ago we dug up what was a horses’ field and turned it into a large formal lawn. Since then, this area has hosted Lashings International Cricket stars for lunch, and wedding receptions. The borders surrounding this lawn have really come into their own in the last year or so and hopefully will continue to flourish.
We’ve always had camping of one type or another on the field next to Warren Woods, but this year it is going to look a little different. A year ago we built a washing up station for our campers upcycled (I feel very trendy using that word) from scaffolding planks and butler sinks, one of which had been lying around in the garden for 30 years. Five large bases for Glamping bell tents are being constructed as I write and the Glamping area is starting to look very welcoming indeed. A shelter for bikes is there, fire pits are dug and the area adjacent to our World War II pill box is being cleared, again.
In our restaurant, we try to use as much garden produce as we can. Virtually all our food is from Norfolk, the vast majority from North Norfolk and a lot is grown 50 meters from the kitchen and is still growing hours before it is eaten. But this does come with a price and spring is when the hard work is done in mud, sweat and wellies. In the fruit cage, where cherry trees and gooseberry bushes are both being pruned as blackcurrant bushes being carefully weeded – having been pruned in the autumn – things are starting to take shape.
In the vegetable garden, our winter brassicas are finally over and they are being pulled up and the stems smashed for composting (a fun job). Soon parsnips then onions and then carrots, radishes and finally beetroot will be planted, although there is plenty of digging to be done first. Herbs are playing an important role at The Grove, and perennial herb bushes and plants can be divided and replanted at this time of year. Chives, and fennel are coming up already.
Indoors, Mrs Graveling senior, is hard at work with her seed planting with cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, sweet corn, peppers, peas, broad beans and finally runner beans all on the list.
The future dreams for The Grove garden involve a heated glass houses and walled vegetable gardens. More immediately, this year, we plan to make a barbeque area outside the kitchen window so that we can host regular gourmet barbeques throughout the summer months. Our secret garden will also get some attention so that it can be used more for private dining when the weather permits.
But for now the aconites and irises are in full bloom and daffodils are poking their noses up from the lawns as if to sniff the air and declare that it’s spring, well almost.