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Cricklepit Garden Group spring: fruit trees, wildflowers & veggies

Posted: Tuesday 1st May 2018 by trustadmin

Cobweb in the Cricklepit Mill garden Cobweb over the leat in the Cricklepit Mill garden

At last it appears that Spring has finally sprung (and about time too) so the Cricklepit Mill garden group are back in action preparing for another summer

Welcome to this year’s second quarterly blog by the Devon Wildlife Trust’s volunteer Cricklepit Garden Group who look after the RHS award winning wildlife garden at the Trust’s headquarters at Cricklepit Mill in Exeter.

During the winter months we aim to complete at least one long term project in the garden but between the rain and the Beast (and not so mini Beast) from the East work in the garden has been rather slow so far this year. However, the Cricklepit Garden Group volunteers (bar one) are a hardy bunch and despite the challenging weather have at last started to make inroads.

Developing the orchard

Apple orchard at Cricklepit Mill

One of our objectives has been to develop the orchard in the garden and we have now set in the posts at the back of the fruit trees and attached 5mm wires. This will enable Jon (our head gardener) to start the 3 or so year process of trailing the branches along the wires to create espaliers. We are also intending to plant some native perennials around the base of the trees to complete the project such as Common Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia), Meadow Saffron (Colchium autumnale), Snakes Head Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris) and Oxlip (Primula elatior).

The annual wildflower bed has also been sown just in the nick of time with a Cornflower mix and we always, with baited breath and fingers crossed look forward to seeing an impressive array of wild flowers during the summer months which is great for attracting bees and other pollinators.

Work on the potager garden 

Now that temperatures are slowing starting to rise planting of the Potager Garden has finally begun. A mix of vegetables and edible flowers typically found in the UK around the 13th Century will be introduced, dating back to the period of the first working Mill at Cricklepit.

Last year we planted Cabbages, Onion, Garlic and Broad Beans in a small area and have now added Parsnip, Leek and Celebrease. These will be followed in the next few weeks by Beetroot, Carrots, Chard and Radish along with Marigolds, Nasturtium and Sweet Violas.

For those of you who want to look around the garden and pick up any tips and ideas to encourage wildlife into your own outside space but are unable to visit during the week we will be open on Saturday 12th May from 11am until 3pm to celebrate National Mills Weekend.

Throughout the spring and summer our intention is to restock our existing beds, expand the existing winter interest border, finish off the clearing and replanting of the Dragonfly Island and hopefully make a start on our next major project of creating a woodland glade on the far side of the leat.

The Garden group has already started clearing and marking out the area in preparation for planting native woodland flowers and shrubs, but more about our progress in the next blog.

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