The Calm After The Storm

Our two giant Sequoiadendron trees down by the Oscar Nemon sculpture weren't the only ones to lose limbs in the recent storms

Our two giant Sequoiadendron trees down by the Oscar Nemon sculpture weren’t the only ones to lose limbs in the recent storms

Twas two nights before Christmas,
And all through the grounds,
Lots of creatures stirring,
Due to the loud stormy sounds.

It will have escaped nobody’s attention that the UK has been battered by some pretty strong storms recently, and down here in West Kent it was no exception. I got to work on Christmas Eve to find the Chartwell gardens had taken a pretty serious pounding, some of which I’ll let you know about in this blog. Some of our staff couldn’t even get into work that morning due to some heavy local flooding so Tony, our Premises Assistant, and I set off with our saws and loppers to first clear all of the fallen branches from the surrounding roads. Once that was done it was time to have a proper look around the gardens to find out the full extent of the damage. I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

The first sign that things were amiss was this window from one of our greenhouses that had blown over the wall into the Kitchen Garden!

The first sign that things were amiss was this window from one of our greenhouses that had blown over the wall into the Kitchen Garden!

This Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree) had fallen on the Orchard banks and a couple of its friends weren't looking too stable either.

This Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree) had fallen on the Orchard banks and a couple of its friends weren’t looking too stable either.

One of only two remaining Tilia x europaea (Common Lime) trees dating back from when Churchill had a whole row of them infront of the house lost a major limb that was still hung in the canopy.

One of only two remaining Tilia x europaea (Common Lime) trees dating back from when Churchill had a whole row of them infront of the house lost a major limb that was still hung in the canopy.

This large Bay Tree (Laurus nobilis salicifolius) inbetween the Top Terrace and the Pet Graves had fallen and completely blocked the paths in three directions!

This large Bay Tree (Laurus nobilis salicifolius) inbetween the Top Terrace and the Pet Graves had fallen and completely blocked the paths in three directions!

Amazingly even the ivy that I had been singing the praises of in last week's blog had been ripped off the Marlborough Pavilion wall.  When we try and cut it back we always have trouble prizing the aerial roots from this wall!

Amazingly even the ivy that I had been singing the praises of in last week’s blog had been ripped off the Marlborough Pavilion wall. When we try and cut it back each year we always have trouble prizing the aerial roots from this wall! The storm had no such problems!

The lake had burst its banks in the far corner of the parkland, meaning we had to rope this area off until it subsided.

The lake had burst its banks in the far corner of the parkland, meaning we had to rope this area off until it subsided.

As has happened before, our large Cedar trees shed lots of large branches.  This Cedrus libani was planted in the mid 1850's by Chartwell's previous occupants, the Colquhoun family.

As has happened before, our large Cedar trees shed lots of large branches. This Cedrus libani was planted in the mid 1850’s by Chartwell’s previous occupants, the Colquhoun family.

This smaller Cedar tree lost a particularly large limb that luckily fell right inbetween a Magnolia and an Amelanchier that would otherwise have been crushed.  Tony can be seen here helping to tidy up the damage.

This smaller Cedar tree lost a particularly large limb that luckily fell right in between a Magnolia and an Amelanchier that would otherwise have been crushed. Tony can be seen here helping to tidy up the damage.

Once we had cleared any of the fallen branches from the paths and roped off any trees that we thought it was potentially unsafe to walk beneath, we also managed to get a local tree management company that we use regularly called Down To Earth to come out on Christmas Eve and deal with the precarious Lime limb that you can see above. Once that was all done, the garden was at least ready to receive visitors again. The work of clearing the fallen Bay Tree that was blocking the paths at the top of the Winter Border has also now been cleared out of the immediate way. You will still see plenty of fallen trees and branches around the garden however until we can properly clear everything away but they are not unsafe for our visitors at all. The problem we have at them moment though is the ground is too sodden to drive our tractors over and until that changes many of the limbs are much too large and heavy to remove by hand. Plenty of our visitors are finding it quite interesting to see what the storm managed to do to our gardens and also the ways in which we are responding to the damage. Whether you come along soon to have a look for yourself, or if you visit in a few weeks once all of the debris has been cleared again, we look forward to seeing you here again soon…

Jamie

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4 Comments

Filed under Chartwell Life, Garden History, Plants

4 responses to “The Calm After The Storm

  1. The Editors of Garden Variety

    I was sorry to hear about the damage to your gardens and structures. I hope the recovery time is swift.

  2. Helen

    I sent to two of our volunteers who are away in Florida. They are suffering from weather too. They didn’t know how much “stuff” you are posting about the garden … two more followers perhaps?

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