Monthly Archives: May 2017
Around 95% of our gardening activity at Tullie House Museum involves looking after herbaceous plants, shrubs and bushes, most of which have been planted in the past by others. The gardening team weed (especially the hundreds of sycamore seedlings that keep appearing), dead head and cut back – basically all the tasks that keep the gardens a place to enjoy and let us appreciate what nature has to offer. The plants in the garden that keep coming back year on year however (known as perennials) will need a bit more work for them to stay looking their best. Some have grown too well and encroached on others around them, some may be struggling a bit and there are those that self-seed into other areas of the garden (not to mention a few that have blown in in the wind).
Our Siberian Iris – Iris sibirica ‘Persimmon’ has a few “uglier” neighbours and the Caster Oil Plant – Fatsia japonica variegata looks as if it needs to be kept in control.
We therefore should consider lifting and splitting a lot of our plants later in the year. This will also allow us to tackle some of the more pervasive weeds like couch grass and Galium aparine (commonly known as cleavers or catchweed or stickyweed or sticky willy) that have unfortunately taken a foot hold in places. If we do this a small area at a time hopefully the task will not be too hard for the gardening team.
The other 5% of our activity is with the annuals. We only have a few small borders where these will be planted but as they are on the terrace in front of the cafe and function room (where several weddings take place throughout the year) it is important that these are looking their best. This year’s new bedding plants will go in next week.
I mentioned nature’s offerings earlier which off course includes the creatures that live in or visit the garden. Perhaps not this dragon fly hiding in the Smilacina Racemosa (False spikenard – at first glance this plant could be mistaken for Solomon’s seal however when it flowers its difference with 15cm long fluffy cream plumes of flowers – more like astilbe – appears). These posts with insects are dotted around the garden and are used by the educational team. More about them later.
One insect however is a very worthy visitor and was sighted last month. The Hairy-footed flower bee (Anthophora plumpipes). The Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre which is based in a building next door to the garden has kindly supplied notes on this little fella.
The Hairy-footed flower bee is a solitary bee which tends to emerge in the spring, and frequently nests in old walls or in the ground. Males and females differ in appearance with females tending to be black with orange hairs on their hind legs. Males are largely brown with long hairs on their mid legs which give this species its name. Both sexes have a long tongue to drink nectar, preferably from lungwort flowers. This male bee was photographed by CBDC on the 28th April in Tullie House Museum’s garden. There are over 1,000 records on the NBN atlas for the UK, but we only have 32 records in Cumbria, 29 of which have been in the last eight years. This species appears to be expanding its distribution northwards. However, it has ‘jumped’ from central England to Cumbria with very few records in Northumbria Lancashire, Yorkshire and Scotland. Does anyone have any suggestions as to why Cumbria may have a population but neighbouring counties lack sightings? Visit the Bees, Wasps & Ants Recording Society’s website http://http://www.bwars.com for more information on this species and many others.
Welcome to the first blog post from the Tullie House gardening team.
We are a small group of volunteers who meet every week (except during the Winter) in the beautiful surroundings of the Tullie House gardens.
Our task is to carry out regular work that ensures the gardens continue to be a place enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Call us the Tullie Gardens Team.
Tullie House garden is a pleasant courtyard style garden set within the historic heart of the city of Carlisle, close to the central shopping area. The garden is situated within the grounds of the historic Jacobean House, and is laid out in a style to reflect the era.
For those unfamiliar with Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, it houses considerable collections of fine and decorative art, human history and natural sciences.
Over the next few months we will be informing you of what we have in our garden and what takes place, not only at the hands of the gardeners, but also the many events that are enjoyed by young and old throughout the year.
We are a committed team, but even we admit that we have a mixed range of plant knowledge within the group, maybe you can help us identify some of the plants and flowers? Your comments and advice will be greatly appreciated.
Part of the garden is an attractive, open space designed with a Jacobean style theme. We also have a Roman garden which was planted to show visitors the main types of plant that would have been around in the Roman times. There are now plenty of signs of Summer coming to the garden.
Although we intend to keep future blogs simple, we hope we can be informative and make as many new friends as possible along the way, so if you do see us in the gardens working away, please pop over and say ‘hello’.