Do you believe in fairies? I have an open mind on the matter; but it is always at this time of year that it comes to the fore with the fruiting bodies of the toadstools
appearing round the garden, especially the fly agaric, Amanita muscaria
, which seems made for a small fairy to be perched on the top.
Its fruiting bodies are utilised by a wide variety of flies and by some beetles as places where they can safely breed, so it’s good to know they help with our garden biodiversity.
The gardens team, headed up by Russ are busy planting up the Winter Walk expansion which is all very exciting. The Winter Walk is something that just gets better each year and has a lot of lovely winter colour and planting schemes that people admire and photograph to reproduce at home. With it being long and linear in design it doesn’t overwhelm and people can get a sense of scale for their own gardens at home.
One of the lovely additions which is just being placed out and planted is Salix irrorata
, (blue stem or sandbar willow). Its young growth is a deep purple and takes on a delicate white bloom in the winter making it a particularly good feature plant for the winter walk. The leaves are glossy green with grey undersides and the catkins have red anthers that turn yellow. I have made a note to watch out through the season for this. If you get a moment and you’re nearby, do pop in and see the winter walk expansion - there are lots more delectable plants being planted as I type, I need to get out there and do some planting myself.
Back to the woodland; there is troll lurking in the undergrowth - he’s just popped up from under the bridge on the top woodland ride path. He has been left in the woods at the end of the summer after the ‘Great Garden Quest’ trail was taken in. We have taken a shine to him and so there he stays being our woodland guardian he’s quite handsome in a ‘toothy troll like’ sort of way.