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Digging The Dirt


Let’s not beat around the bush – we have all gone wild for Period Drama. For some, it has been a long and lasting love affair, for others this is a fresh new romance. Whether you are the former or the latter, you will not have missed ITVs dramatic series Victoria with its beautiful costumes, stunning stately homes and equally sumptuous gardens.

Looking after these large properties is no joke and much has been made of ‘the help,’ with programmes like Downton Abbey and Victoria highlighting the lives of the serving staff that keep these big houses going. We are used to seeing the chaos in the kitchen and the militant, precision service in the dining room but as Victoria storms out of her palace to take a turn around the gardens, it is rare you will see anything more than a lone gardener idly pruning a rose bush or wheeling a barrow inanely across the perfectly manicured lawn.

So it is really that easy? What does maintaining a stately garden really involve?

Even without considering flowerbeds and landscaping, the maintenance of land is a mammoth task. Grass must be mown and fed, fences maintained and hedges cut – not to mention composting and waste removal. Parkland is even more intensive with tree management involving planting new trees as well as protecting existing ones. It is tree top adventures with a chain saw!  A parkland needs to retain the feel of a wild natural environment; therefore, it is vital work is done sympathetically and with the upmost respect to the surroundings. If done in a professional and skillful manner, the parkland will become a flourishing, blooming haven for people and wildlife alike. In the past, this would have required a army of skilled gardeners – now with new machinery, not quite the same level of man power, but an equal level of teamwork and skill.

If you have ever considered taming your little patch of wilderness into a miniature stately garden to rival any National Trust Estate or dreamed of taking a turn around your very own orchard (let’s face it, there is a bit of Elizabeth Bennett in all of us) but the thought of it leaves you juddering, help is at hand. Forestry companies will bring expertise and do all the leg work leaving you to look on in serene admiration as Lord or Lady of the Manor – no digging required!

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