A Chartwell Christmas

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A winter garden in an alder swamp,
Where conies now come out to sun and romp,
As near a paradise as it can be
And not melt snow or start a dormant tree.

It lifts existence on a plane of snow
One level higher than the earth below,
One level nearer heaven overhead,
And last year’s berries shining scarlet red.

It lifts a gaunt luxuriating beast
Where he can stretch and hold his highest feat
On some wild apple tree’s young tender bark,
What well may prove the year’s high girdle mark.

So near to paradise all pairing ends:
Here loveless birds now flock as winter friends,
Content with bud-inspecting. They presume
To say which buds are leaf and which are bloom.

A feather-hammer gives a double knock.
This Eden day is done at two o’clock.
An hour of winter day might seem too short
To make it worth life’s while to wake and sport.


‘A Winter Eden’ by Robert Frost

Things are starting to wind down at Chartwell now as we start to ‘put the garden to bed’ for the year. Borders are carefully mulched, Winter veg crops are gently harvested, roses are cut back and tied in, paths are cleaned, cold frames are closed and some herbaceous stems are cut back while other are left to glisten with frost. As the festive period approaches it seems like as good a time as any to look back on the year we’ve had in the gardens here at Chartwell. Click on the underlined sections for the blog entries the text below refers to…

Our Magnolia denudata, offset perfectly against the bright blue Kent sky.

Our Magnolia denudata, offset perfectly against the bright blue Spring Kent sky.

The weather was one of the main talking points of 2012! Back in March we experienced Summer temperatures a tad too early. And then by April we were experiencing monsoon rains, just as the hosepipe bans were announced! Summer finally put in an appearance at the end of July. All these strange climatic conditions played havoc with the Kitchen Garden but all was well that ended well.

We had lots of triumphs this year too. First there was the success of our Alitex Glasshouse at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. And then we had some more individual triumphs in the shape of Rhiannon’s performance in the Young Horticulturalist of the Year competition and, if you’ll excuse me blowing my own trumpet for a second, my own graduation from the National Trust Careership scheme! And then of course there was the amazing fund raising efforts of our staff and volunteers as some of us took part in Movember for male cancer awareness. We still had time for plenty of hard work this year as regular readers of this blog will be well aware of. Just scroll back through the months and have a look for yourselves…

But in true Christmas TV tradition, I thought we’d take this opportunity to show you behind the curtain as it were and include some festive funny photos in this blog! It’s not all serious science and hard-nosed history here at Chartwell as we try and maintain the gardens of the Churchill family to the best of our abilities. Have a look at some examples of the lighter side of the Chartwell garden team…

Steve gets a little too close to the action in his attempts to remove every last weed from the Rose Garden!

Steve gets a little too close to the action in his attempts to remove every last weed from the Rose Garden!

Alastair doesn't react too well to the thought of another day of turf care!

Alastair doesn’t react too well to the thought of another day of turf care!

Donna and Matt compare their baby bumps.  Note - only one of these gardeners is actually pregnant.  The other is smuggling a pumpkin!

Donna and Matt compare their baby bumps. Note – only one of these gardeners is actually pregnant. The other is smuggling a pumpkin!

Alex has just been told how much he'll be earning while working at Chartwell!

Alex has just been told how much he’ll be earning while working at Chartwell!

Ann receives a little help getting into her harness for going up the crane!

Ann receives a little help getting into her harness for going up the crane!

Love is often in the air at Chartwell, including for these two toads we found getting to know each other!

Love is often in the air at Chartwell, including for these two toads we found getting to know each other!

There have been a few tumbles this year.  Here, Steve is overwhelmed by our Gunnera manicata plants...

There have been a few tumbles this year. Here, Steve is overwhelmed by our Gunnera manicata plants…

...and here Len gets into a spot of bother whilst working along the lake edge!

…and here Len gets into a spot of bother whilst working along the lake edge!

(Matt's open-mouthed pose part 1) Ann and Matt practice their Winston Churchill victory salutes!

(Matt’s open-mouthed pose part 1) Ann and Matt practice their Winston Churchill victory salutes!

(Matt's open-mouthed photo pose part two) Taking the cut flowers up to the house shouldn't be this much fun!

(Matt’s open-mouthed pose part 2) Taking the cut flowers up to the house shouldn’t be this much fun!

And finally, this is what happens if you fall asleep on your tea break during the harsh Kentish Winter!

And finally, this is what happens if you fall asleep on your tea break during the harsh Kentish Winter!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has paid us a visit during the last 12 months here at Chartwell. We hope you had a thoroughly enjoyable time and that you’ll come and see us again soon in 2013. The gardens are open throughout the festive period, with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day itself so there’s still time to get your Chartwell fix in 2012 too! And if you can’t get to see us, keep reading this blog and I’ll try and keep you all up to date with everything that is happening horticulturally…

Happy Christmas!

Jamie

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4 Comments

Filed under Chartwell Life

4 responses to “A Chartwell Christmas

  1. Helen Moulsley

    A brilliant year of blogging Jamie. Looking forward to next year’s. Helen

  2. Jaquiperry

    Very Happy Christmas to you Jamie and many thanks for your wonderful blogs throughout the year! Jaqui Perry

    Sent from Samsung Mobile

    chartwellgardensnt wrote:

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