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Chilly February

Chilly February

The chill winds of February have been blowing right across the hop garden!

Hop garden

Whilst most mortals want to stay wrapped in the warm indoors, Matthew has been out and about braving the weather.  There’s still been lots to do…..

Matthew by the Sunken Garden

The last of the vegetation from the hop plants and perennial weeds have all been burnt by bonfire.  Some of our old filing came in very handy as kindling!

Bonfire in hop garden

The entrance to the Sunken Garden has been fashioned and the planting plan is under discussion!  There are the tricky slopes to contend with, so we’re looking for plants that will help stabilise the soil as well as putting on a pretty display throughout the spring and summer.

Sunken Garden

Whilst the clay soil should hold the moisture, any rain is likely to run off quickly!  Some of the slopes will be baked hard in the sun, while others will need plants that flourish in deep shade.  Either way, it’s going to be interesting standing on the slopes to do the planting! 

It’s still a bit wet in the bottom of the Sunken Garden but once the turf is laid later in the year, we are hoping it will be a real focal point.


There’s been time for a spot of maintenance on the tractor.

The coir string is on order and due to arrive from Sri Lanka any day now.  Without the many miles of coir, Matthew wouldn’t be able to string the garden and give the hops the vertical support they need to flourish.

The hops are all safely slumbering underground.  The root ball is still dormant, gathering strength for the spring push above ground.

Hop garden

Stringing is scheduled to start next week and should take Matthew the whole of March to single-handedly complete.  He’ll be checking the corkscrew plugs in the soil to make sure they are all positioned correctly and firmly fixed.

Next on the list is to contact the Hogs Back Hoppers to come and volunteer in the spring.  Twiddling usually starts at the beginning of May so if you fancy trying your hand, get in touch!

Our fleecy friends made but a fleeting visit to the hop garden and the sheep are now safely penned in their proper pasture. 

Sheep in field

The deer have been very active.  They seem to spend a lot of time in the far field....

Deer in field

...but the tell-tale hoofprints show that they come into the Sunken Garden when we humans are abed!

Deer hoof prints

We did keep a look out for the Northern Lights and so far are yet to spot them over the skies over the hop garden but the first signs of spring are unmistakably to be seen at last.

Leaves starting to bud on the tree

But we did have a visitor to our pillbox who is interested in the GHQ Line and the WW2 Ring Defence of Aldershot, following the recent uncovering of a pillbox just over 500 yards away as the crow flies by the Blackwater Valley Trust.  We hope to find out a lot more about the fascinating local history in due course!

Pill box

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