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Gravetye Manor

Vowels Lane
West Hoathly
Sussex
RH19 4LJ
 
Tel: +44 (0) 1342 810567
Fax: +44 (0) 1342 810080
 
 

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In the Garden News

 
July is one of the most special times in the Garden at Gravetye. The kitchen garden is full, the flower garden is overflowing with colour and the meadows are also at their height and teaming with wildlife.  We manage our meadows specifically for wild flowers and one of the most striking at the moment is the knap weed, Centaurea nigra.  This is just starting to come into flower and through July gives the meadow a purple tinge against the golden grass.  This plant is really good for the wildlife and is a magnet for butterflies and moths.  The burnet moth is one of my favourites to spot and this year is a good one for them, with clouds feeding on the knap weed.  It is the most beautiful thing, with its bright red spotted wings and a distinct, lazy, undulating flight.  As a day flying moth, it is quickly told apart from the butterfly’s by the way it holds its wings open when at rest as if it wants to show off its pretty red spots!  When the knap weed has finished flowering its seeds are a favourite for gold finches, and the sight from the flower garden terrace of hundreds of them feeding away on the meadow is just magic.  
 
We always wait until the end of August before we cut the meadow, when we know that all of the wild flowers have seeded and the insects have finished their life cycles.  Our best indication for this is when the common spotted orchid, Dactylorhiza fuchsii, has set seed. Then the local farmer comes and cuts the hay which he takes away for his cows.  Species rich meadows, like the ones at Gravetye are so important for wildlife and have become a sadly rare feature in the landscape.  Since the end of the Second World War we have lost 98% of this habitat in England, which has had a terrible effect on the populations of birds, and insects, which are dependent on them.  By managing the fragments we have at Gravetye as sensitively as possible we can help to preserve what is left.  Soon we hope to use them as a seed source to establish new species rich meadows in the area to try and increase this beautiful feature in the landscape.
 
To see Gravetye's meadows for yourself, join Tom on his next garden tour on the 6th August. Read on for further details.
 
You can read Tom's latest article in Country Life 'Summer's most important work' on our Press Page

Wednesday 6th August

Garden Tour with Head Gardener Tom Coward followed by lunch

August is one of the crescendos in the garden at Gravetye, with the borders at their height of late summer colour.  The wild flower meadows are at their full maturity and will soon be cut, after the knap weed and devils bit scabious finishes flowering. The whole meadow is alive with insects at this time of year, with the song of crickets filling the air.  The kitchen garden is also in peek production at this time of year and, due to the mild spring we had, we are hoping for one of the best tomato crops we have ever grown.
 
Gathering at 10.30am for the tour. Followed by lunch at 12.30pm.
£75.00 per person, 3 courses, aperitif, drinks and tour inclusive.
Parts of the tour are over uneven ground and may be wet; please bring appropriate clothing and footwear.
 
To book or for further information please contact our Events Co-ordinator Jess Hall on 01342 810567 or events@gravetyemanor.co.uk.

Gravetye Garden Blog

For all those eager to read more regular updates from the garden, then we have good news. Our head gardener Tom and his team are delighted to launch the Gravetye Garden Blog. Packed full of pictures and information on their work at Gravetye - look out for Tom’s plant of the week, as well as posts from exciting contributors.

Click here to subscribe: http://gravetyemanor.wordpress.com/


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