Brenda Bracken’s Abbey Garden Blog…seeds and seagulls
For this month’s blog I thought it would be interesting to give you an idea of what it’s like to work in Tresco Abbey Garden, so I’m documenting a day in the life of Dave Inch, the propagator in the garden.
Dave has worked in Tresco Abbey Garden for the last 25 years, 13 of which he has been the propagator.
Every morning, the gardeners congregate at 7.55 or thereabouts, in the shed, where the day’s work is agreed upon and meted out, any issues are discussed, and the odd bit of gossip is imparted. The day that I chose for the purpose of this blog, provided a very interesting morning meeting … Dave Hamilton, the vegetable gardener had been, of late, having problems with a seagull who was stealing the duck eggs from the chicken run, and in an effort to eradicate the problem he asked us for any suggestions that we might have to help him do so. One suggestion was that Dave dress up as a giant seagull in an effort to catch the culprit, to which Dave replied that it would be better for him to dress up as a giant egg, and catch the seagull as he tried to pounce on him!
Anyhow, getting back from this amusing little digression, after the morning meeting Dave Inch usually heads off to the nursery where he opens up the glasshouses and cold frames, weather permitting, to allow some air circulation for the plants therein. As he goes around opening the various glasshouses, he casts his eyes over the plants, and especially the plugs – tiny units of compost – and seed trays, to see if any of them require water; at the same time he is checking for anything that needs more care than others and if anything needs attention. He then waters the plants as needed.
Today, having carried out these daily duties, Dave potted on Lampranthus from plugs to larger pots. For this he used a mixture of potting compost and grit for drainage. The Lampranthus had been taken as cuttings from the garden in January/February. These plants will be taken to the Garden Visitor Centre for sale.
Dave’s next task was to take cuttings from Aeonium decorum. These Aeonium had been grown from seed and were in pots. They are quite small, the rosettes not growing much bigger than three inches across. The cuttings will used for planting around the garden and also for plant sales.
Next he took cuttings of Aeonium manriqueorum, which is the largest of the shrub Aeonium. Its rosettes can grow up to twelve inches across. These were placed into a mix of fine compost with gravel, and will be put in the Garden Visitor Centre for sale.
In the afternoon, a consignment of plants in plugs arrived at the nursery, and Dave unpacked these in the Sales glasshouse and watered them in.