So first things first, I am a ranger, and whilst undoubtedly the thought of me dead heading flowers, secateurs in hand will bring a wry smile or a whole hearted guffaw to some of my colleagues I thought I’d write about the sanctuary that is the walled garden at Parke.
As a hobby gardener at home under my wife’s careful eye we celebrate and eat anything that grows successfully, but here at Parke the fruits of peoples labour can be seen in. The Bovey Community gardener’s plots seem to have an abundance of vegetables at the moment, runner beans, tomatoes, lettuces and everybody’s bag of goodies gets heavier and larger by the week. The Bovey community gardeners meet regularly at on a Wednesday and alternate Saturdays and Sundays and we often cast an envious eye on how prolific and well their vegetables grow. The squirrels certainly have made the most of our fruit this year, decimating our gooseberries before moving onto apricots, then peaches before finally moving onto dessert, our almonds. To be fair we’ve also been blighted this year, the weather hasn’t helped, the slugs and snails have been numerous, blight went through our potatoes and tomatoes before they had a chance to fruit and we’ve made mistakes but its all part of the challenge of gardening.
Speaking for myself the garden not only provides a respite from rigours and affairs of the estate giving me opportunity to while away the hours in a vegetable plot muttering and cursing weeds or pruning vines and looking at them as small trees that need pollarding but also as a place of sanctuary. Nuthatches are frequent visitors, a fledgling woodpecker spent a day traversing the footpaths, bees and butterflies fill the air as they look to make the most of the late sunshine and flowers available and there the sound of a fork striking the ground as the earth gets turned over adds to the serenity that can only be found in a garden.
Whilst my heart will always be in the woods and the wilds, the walled garden is slowly wheedling its way in.