As this is our first summer here at Eagle House Bed and Breakfast, it has been wonderful to watch the garden slowly reveal itself to us and it has been full of surprises!
The beds are full of perennials, like Lupins, Hosta’s, and Fox gloves, that we didn’t know were there but the real stars of the show over the last few weeks have been the roses. Pinks and yellows, their sweetly scented blooms have gone on and on. Helen has collected some of the fallen petals and dried them to make confetti for a family member’s upcoming wedding.
There have been some failures though. In the early spring, Helen moved a few shrubs around that had outgrown their spaces and some have not made it to their new positions. A bare root rhubarb received through the post failed to show signs of life after planting and has been replaced with a pot-grown one and two of the bare root fruit trees planted in the autumn may also need replacing.
The new spring-planted asparagus bed is a real success though. So far each plant has a healthy spear even though they have been planted in our Staffordshire clay soil and in a lightly shaded area. Helen carefully followed the Monty Don method of planting them in these kinds of conditions, creating a trench full of mounded gritty earth to aid drainage. So far it’s paying off but as you have to give them a lot of time to establish, it will be a few years until we can pick our first spear.
Three further vegetable beds have been created. Potatoes, beans, squashes, carrots, beetroot, tomatoes onions and garlic are all doing well. However, Helen risked not covering the brassicas and the birds have had a good go at them so a lesson has been learnt for next year. We have already picked a few radish and salad leaves and tasted our first Eagle House strawberry!
Blue terracotta glazed pots (our signature colour) have been purchased from PM Edwards nursery at Johnson Hall, Eccleshall and planted with pretty white flowers for all the tables on the terrace and we have a new blue table and chair set that looks stunning in the gazebo But the biggest change in the garden this summer is to our 200-year-old copper beach tree!
When we moved in, we noticed that there were some dead branches in the tree and had it assessed. The conclusion was that it was likely to be stressed from the drought in 2018. We were relieved to hear that it was otherwise in good health as our large tree is something of a focal point at the top of Eccleshall’s Gaol Butts road and is about the same age as the house. It has lovely deep red leaves that change to green as the season progresses and is much loved by a wide variety of birds and other wildlife.
We arranged for tree surgeons to come and remove the dead areas and lift the canopy slightly, letting more light into the garden and ensuring the old branches wouldn’t fall and cause any damage. This also involved turning off the electricity for the day as there are power lines near the tree. We are very happy with the result and I’m sure you will agree, looking at the before and after photos, the tree looks just as stunning, if not better. May she stand for another 200 years!