The cultivated part of the garden here at Cloncallow extends to a little under 1 acre. This relatively small area provides a wide variety of interesting features. It can roughly be described in four distinct areas:
The Ornamental Duck Pond
The pond was here when we moved in but it was impossible to keep clean. Under advice from a neighbor we got some ducks in 2013 to help keep the pond clean – they do a really good job of eating the little green algae and keeping the water clear. They also eat lots of slugs from the flower beds and provide about 4 eggs a day which we use for baking.
Planting by the Pond: Damp loving plants, Ligularia ‘Desdamona’ and the smaller Ligularia ‘Cafe Noir’, Rogersia, Dermara peltata, Lilium Black Beauty and Tiger Lilies thrive in these conditions. The damp loving golden variegated grass Acorus Gram. ‘Ogon’ is pleasing and cheerful throughout the whole year.
Rhododendron: Some species Rhododendrons are planted nearby. These are still young specimens but just starting to flower . Mingling with these are a variety of Martagon Lilies, ‘Manitoba Morning’, ‘Sunny Morning’ and ‘Mrs.R O Backhouse’. The martagon lilies flower in early June filling the air with a very delicate fragrance.
We planted the orchard in 2011. Planting of apple, pear, plum, cherry and almond trees give a wonderful show of blossom in the spring and an abundant harvest of fruit in the Autumn. The apple varieties include Irish Peach and Dick Davis. Pear trees include Doyenne du Comice, and the early varieties Robin and Beth. The sunny stone wall acts as backdrop for Kiwi and Grape vines. It is also a sun trap for ripening of Peregrine Peaches and Moorpark apricots. We had our first proper harvest of Apricots and Warwickshire Drooper plums last year (2016). The birds ate every single one of our cherries! We also have an Prunus x Persicoides Robijn almond tree who’s spring blossoms make it worthwhile to have in the orchard even though it requires a particularly good summer to ripen the almonds.
Paulonia Fargesii grown from seed 5 years ago are already 10m tall and tower over underplanting of Hydrangea and bring water to the apricots and peaches. The tall, waving grass Stipa arundinacea offer shade to the bulbs of the tree lilies Mr Job and Pink Perfection.
The Woodland Glade
The glade is an area at the most low lying part of the garden. Clearing this area to introduce more natural light has proved to be quite a challenge. The new lighter conditions have resulted in the old Hollies, Laurel and Ferns now mingling with new planting of Rhodendron, Hydrangea and Martagen Lilies ‘Pink Morning’ and ‘Fairy Morning’. A vaguely exotic Tetrapanex is thriving and a newly planted ‘Davidia involucrata’ (Handkerchief Tree) and Cardiocrinum giganteum seem to like the growing conditions.
Two streams meet there and leave the property under a bridge. The pleasant sound of rushing natural streams the atmosphere of Glade makes it an ideal place to sit and ponder.
The glade is a natural cover for the fox and we have to remember to beat the bushes in the morning before releasing the ducks from their beds!
The Poly Tunnel and Vegetable Garden
The poly tunnel was constructed in 2007 and we added the raised beds in 2013. Our choice of crops is greatly influenced by our Kitchen here at Cloncallow. We go to great lengths to find rare and interesting varieties of fruits and vegetables to grow. Every year you can expect to find tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, potatoes, courgettes, squash, spinach, chard, kale, carrots, herbs, raspberries and strawberries. Like all good kitchen gardens we operate a two way system – The garden provides us with exciting fresh ingredients and we in turn compost everything possible to go back into the soil. We also have a ‘Green Pig’ to compost things which can’t go in a conventional compost bin. The ducks and dogs also help us with any leftovers and scraps so that we have almost zero food waste from our kitchen.