Thursday 20 September 2018

Nostell Priory

The original Nostell Priory was built in the 12th century but like most other monastic buildings it was dissolved by Henry VIII. The site of the original priory was built on in 1733 and that is the building you see today. Surrounding the house is 300 acres of parkland and gardens with a fully working kitchen garden.
When you first walk in it's easy to presume that this was the original kitchen garden that supplied the house but it fact it has been recently created. Now the produce is used in the Courtyard Café.
Along the garden wall is a 100m stretch of the white rose Iceberg. This overlooks a border of colourful plants and exotic species.
While idea is to recreate something like what was supplying the house in the 17th and 18th century some of crops have a distinctly modern feel to them. The bed of maincrop potatoes has been dug up for this year. The variety that was grown in this bed was Picasso that was introduced in 1992.
I always think it is brave to grow tomatoes outside. I know the weather this year has been of Mediterranean proportions so there shouldn't be a problem with the tomatoes ripening but what about blight? One of the reasons to keep tomatoes in a greenhouse is so they are protected from the dreaded blight disease that devastates entire crops. This variety could be the solution. Introduced in just 2015 Crimson Crush it claims to be 100% resistance to blight.
If you have ever grown courgettes you will know a little goes a long way in terms of yield. Rather than devoting a whole bed to the courgettes they have been slotted in amongst the sweetcorn.
The hot weather has caused some of the salad crops to bolt but there's still plenty to be served in the lunchtime salads.
The Lyon variety of leeks is an old English type from 1886. It's extremely hardy and can withstand temperatures down to -15°C. As a backup the Oarsman variety has been grown as well.
Onion envy! Look at the size of those onions! All beautifully displayed as well. It's almost a shame to harvest them.
It's been well documented how this summer's heat has affected the size and yield of carrot crops. No problems here though as the carrots growing out of the ground.
If there is one thing that seems to have benefited from the cold start to the year followed by a hot summer and that is this year's apple crop. Wherever I have been apple trees have had their branches bent with the weight of heavy apples and the orchard here was no exception.
Before we left we saw the changing of the seasons in front of us. It's nearly that time of year again...

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