Before the end of my training placement on the Historic and Botanic Garden Bursary Scheme here at Cragside, I took the opportunity to learn some new skills with Big Thanks from the Garden team at Wallington – one of our neighbouring National Trust properties.
I have just spent three days working with the team learning how to use a selection of different ride-on lawn mowers. Each one was sightly different to operate and used for different purposes. The smaller of the two (pictured below) was very easy to maneuver so ideal for cutting around edges and trees etc. It is also a mulching mower so therefore no grass to collect! A nice change from collecting all the grass cuttings at Cragside. Although I must admit that the bigger of the two was much more fun – the bigger the better – this one is also a mulching mower and also ideal for cutting the large flat lawns they have. I must admit that the lines are a bit wonky this week though so its a good job that grass grows and the professionals can make them nice and straight again next week.
The second thing I wanted to know more about was how a heated glasshouse operates – in this instance the Conservatory which has a lovely colourful display of tender plants including; Streptocarpus, Coleus, Ferns, Fuchsia and Pelargonium. I spent a lot of time feeding, dead heading, removing dead leaves and spraying for pests. Each a time consuming but enjoyable job which gets you up close and personal with each plant.
I’ve also found out about the importance of keeping the Conservatory warm during the winter months but not allowing it to get too hot in the summer. Ventilation is also important to increase the air flow which reduces temperature and reduces the risk of potential pests and disease. The correct level of watering and control of humidity is also highly important.
It’s been such valuable experience from a team of gardeners who were happy to teach me these new skills and I can’t thank them enough for their patience and generosity for taking the time to educate me.