Pumpkin Rolling, Plan Your Visit

Make the most out of your family visit to Easton Walled Gardens during October Half Term.

Plan your visit to Easton Walled Gardens – October Half Term

Children's Week

Whenever I visit a garden in a part of the country I don’t know, the one thing I want to do is make the most of the time and pack in as much as I can into a precious day off, especially with family in tow. It can be very difficult to find the information all in one place so we have put together this little guide to our area which we hope you find useful. If you would like further advice you can contact the office or tweet us @ewgardens

So here it is! Ideas for making the most of your visit to Lincolnshire, the East Midlands and some child friendly places to visit. Scroll down to see ideas for overnight stays, route planning, refreshments, good food and other gardens to visit around Easton Walled Gardens.

Making the most of your visit to Easton Walled Gardens during October Half Term:

OPEN DAYS: 17th – 28th October, on our usual open days which are Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Allow about 2 hours to visit us: 2 1/2 hours if you are eating in the tearoom. Our postcode is NG33 5AP if you are searching for the gardens on google. (Don’t rely on Sat Nav for directions, it will take you up and down the A1 – see our directions page for more.)

The gardens are open from 11.00 – 4.00 but we never turn away visitors who arrive at 10.30! The busiest time of the day for arrivals is 11.30 -12.30. Click here for full opening times.

We have loos with a baby change unit, a shop including some beautiful plants for sale, sweet pea seeds and other carefully chosen products such as Sophie Allport, Wrendale Designs and Susan Entwistle. There is even a selection of products especially for children.

During October half term, there will be lots of fun activities for families to take part in. Our famous Pumpkin Rolling event is one not to be missed – choose your pumpkin and roll it as far as you can down the terraces. Take part in the Halloween trail, plant a spring bulb in the cedar meadow or a conker in a pot. There’ll even be a big pile of leaves to jump in! All activities are covered by an extra £2 fee (On top of the normal admission fees)

Family

The gardens have limited access for wheelchair users although it is possible to see much of the lower gardens from above. If you have limited mobility and can manage slopes with a handrail then you may well find the lower gardens possible to navigate. For a full round up of disabled facilities, click here. This goes for buggies too but good all terrain buggies will be able to access all of the gardens!

We have a busy but efficient tearoom which serves light lunches and cream teas but, if you prefer, the estate pub in Burton le Coggles is open for lunch every day except Monday and Tuesday. Eating at The Cholmeley Arms (NG33 4JP) is very popular so you may need to book on 01476 550225. There are some comfortable rooms available if you want to make an overnight stay.

children playing

Services and refreshments on the way:

Visit the local towns of Bourne, Grantham or Melton Mowbray on your way to Easton Walled Gardens for refreshments, petrol and provisions. The Cholmeley Arms is also on your way or try The Pantry (NG33 4NH) in Corby Glen or the Five Bells in Edenham which we have heard good things about.

Other places to visit:

Alternatively, you might like to explore some of the beautiful architecture of our area and enjoy some retail therapy. Stamford, with its stunning Georgian buildings and great shopping is just 20 minutes on the A1.
The lovely market town of Oakham is just 25 minutes away and has great shopping and some fabulous places to eat. Nearby is Rutland Water with plenty of choices of things to do with young families including Bugtopia and Rock Blok. You can explore the whole region by visiting southwestlincs.com or discover-rutland.co.uk
*Please check opening times and prices at all venues before visiting.

children walking up a hill

Autumn Country Market 2018

Exciting announcement for this years’ Autumn Country Market…

We are absolutely delighted to announce that we will have a wonderful vintage car on display at this years’ Autumn Country Market!

Here’s a few words from Polly, the owner of this wonderful old vehicle…

Polly's Car

“It’s a 1904 Darracq (later to become Peugeot) which means it is 114 years old – yes, 114 years old. It is described as a ‘rear-entrance tonneau model’, which means it has a canvas cover that can be applied if it’s empty (the tonneau) and that to get to the two back seats you climb up a step and go through a little wooden door: luxury compared to the front, which is accessible only from the passenger’s side as the other is somewhat obstructed by handles, pedals and the steering wheel.

It has no roof, indicators, working lights, heating, air conditioning or CD player (sadly) and is made of wood, metal and leather – no plastic in sight, for obvious reasons. It has three forward gears and reverse, and a it’s single cylinder 8hp engine reaches a mighty top speed of 26mph. Or so I’m told: it has no rev counter, odometer or mileometer, so who knows?

The electric starter is a recent addition installed by my father as he got older. The hand throttle and advance/retard spark controls are on the steering wheel or column, and the petrol gauge is a wooden ruler with the Kings and Queens of Britain on it: as long as the unleaded doesn’t drop below Queen Victoria, you’re fine. It has no sump so the manual oiling system feeds straight into the engine.

I have had it for 8 years and inherited it from my Pa, who had it for about 30 before that. We do the London to Brighton Run in it every year and it has never yet failed to make it: no mean achievement. We love it to bits and it’s as much part of the family as the animals and more so sometimes than the children or my husband. A fact of which they are all well aware!!”

Find out more about the Autumn Country Market here

Incredible Edibles!

In this informative blog, Ollie talks about how some common garden flowers can be used in everyday cooking…

edible flowersIn this day and age it is very easy to lose touch with where our food comes from. We are so used to going to the supermarket and picking up pre-packaged foods whenever we like. Caring for a garden or an allotment revitalises this tangible connection to food. You can’t beat the taste and nutrition of home grown produce, so fresh it is still growing when you bite into it!

We can all identify the obvious crops we grow on the veggie patch, such as carrots, lettuce, beetroots, beans and brassicas, but you may be surprised to learn that many of our common garden plants are edible too. Here are a few:

cake

Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis) petals, have an intense colour and a peppery taste, ideal for sprinkling on salads, as are both the leaves and flowers of Nasturium (Tropaeolummajus).

Sunflower (Helianthusannuus) petals can be used to garnish salads and as we all know the seeds are healthy and delicious.

The flowers of Pansies (Violaodorata), Primroses (Primula vulgaris) and Cowslips (Primula veris) can be eaten whole and are often candied to decorate spring time cakes.

Surprisingly even the petals of the common Daisies (Bellis perennis) are edible, although not particularly flavoursome.

common daisies

Another unusual edible flower is that of the Day lily (Hemerocallis), which can be added to stir fries, salads and soups. Beware however as they can have a laxative effect!

Most of us are familiar with Elderflower (Sambucus nigra). The flowers are used to make cordials and presse, but my favourite treat is elderflower fritters. The flowers are battered, deep fried and dipped in sugar, yum! Interestingly, with exception of the berries, all other parts of the elder are poisonous.

borage

Vibrant blue Borage (Borago offincinalis) flowers add a zing of colour and a mild cucumber flavour to salads. They are great frozen in ice cubes to give cocktails the wow factor.Rose flowers have been used for centuries to flavour food and drink. The stronger the fragrance, the more floral the flavour, with the petals used to garnishing dishes.
flowers in ice cubes

The most important thing before eating anything you forage, is that you are 100% sure you have identified the plant correctly. There are equally as many toxic and deadly plants as there are tasty edible ones! 

It is also advisable to avoid eating old faded flowers, plants that could have been sprayed with pesticides, plants that are exposed to fumes near roads and areas frequented by pets. People who suffer from allergies should be extra cautious too, as they may be more susceptible to harmful reactions from edible flowers.

If you are interested in finding out more about incredible edibles in your garden and the surrounding countryside then I can recommend the book “Food for Free” written by Richard Mabey.

Disclaimer: This blog it meant as an informative guide on which common flowers are edible. Easton Walled Gardens accept no responsibility for individuals who decide to consume any of the flowers mentioned. Please forage responsibly and carefully!

Summer Garden Maintenance Tips

Head Gardener, Ollie Ryan-Moore, gives us a few helpful tips for maintaining a healthy summer garden…

Summer has arrived, and our gardens are bursting with life. Fresh flowers gleaming and verdant foliage lapping up the sunshine of the longest days of the year. During these potentially drier periods it pays to keep a close eye on watering. Seedlings, newly planted plants, trees and shrubs in their first growing season after planting and containers are most vulnerable in dry conditions. Without expansive root systems these plants aren’t able to access enough water, so we need to help them. The best time to water is in the morning or evening. Watering when it isn’t so sunny reduces water loss through evaporation. Give plenty of water, but keep the frequency low, this ensures plants get a good soaking, but are still encouraged to develop their root systems.

summer vegetable garden

Weekly mowing can be a chore, so if you want to reduce your workload, then consider leaving and area of lawn to grow wild, just mowing pathways through it. The long grass can all be cut in the autumn and composted. Leaving areas of long grass is good for wildlife and you may see wildflowers start to pop up as well. If you are mowing a fine lawn, then it pays to raise the height of cut during dry spells. This leaves the grass a little longer and puts less stress on the turf.

terraces

Weeding is always important and summer is when the hoe is most effective. Using a hoe slices through weeds and means they can be left to wilt and die on the soil surface. Another job for this time of year is pruning stone fruit trees such as plums, cherries and damsons. These fruit trees are susceptible to diseases if pruned in the winter as their wounds are slow to heal over. Pruning in early summer allows them to heal quickly whilst they are growing vigorously and reduce the chance of infection. It is also the best time to prune spring flowering shrubs such as Weigela, Philadelphus and Forsythia. They need the rest of the season to regrow shoots that will bear next year’s spring flowers.

weeding in the sweet peas

Take note of pests and diseases on your plants. Pests such as aphids, caterpillars and vine weevil can quickly do a lot of damage, so take action at first sight of problems. If you are having regular pest and disease problems with a particular plant then it is likely to be weak or unhealthy. The most resistant plants are the strongest, healthiest ones. Finally, take time to enjoy your garden in the sun!