Historic estate’s horticultural appeal

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THE famous Winchester Gates of the Milntown Gardens are set to re-open for the season on Monday, at Ramsey’s historic house and estate.

Changes have been afoot over the winter, as gardeners have been busy tackling overgrown conifers that have been blocking out light from other more valuable plants.

Resourcefulness and minimising waste is important at Milntown, and the conifers will provide logs for the estate and the smaller branches will be chipped for mulch wood.

Their removal has given more room for several Red Oak trees, a walnut tree and some common oaks too, and tree replanting has already started, using acacias and pittisporums grown from plug plants in the estate’s nursery, as well as eucalyptus grown from seed by Milntown’s gardeners.

In the woodland an unsafe ash tree needed to be felled, but the timber is going to good use as new seating, made by local joiner Jason McNee.

Thanks to the generosity of organisers of the Mannifest music festival, there are some interesting characters lurking in the Milntown gardens this year, as the estate has been loaned two sculptures; one of two dinosaurs by Matt Crabbe and the other of a sprite by Matt Crabbe and Simon Hedger, which was actually carved during last year’s Mannifest at Glen Lough farm.

Also on display in the Milntown Gardens is a sculpture of ‘Manx Miners’ by local sculptor Gary Bennett, said to represent human struggle and the pulling together in times of extreme hardship.

This year more plants that have been propagated on site will be for sale during the regular Milntown Plant Sales, including some new varieties that are being used to re-stock the gardens as well as some are cuttings taken from original plants in the garden.

Vegetables and herbs being grown this year will include white beetroot, red brussel sprouts and pink potatoes which will all appear on the Milntown Restaurant’s summer menu, in addition to chilli peppers ranging from mild salad varieties to some of the world’s hottest variants.

Also new for 2013 is a cutting garden which will provide seasonal fresh flowers for the house and restaurant.

Richard Lucas, the Milntown garden designer will give advice on starting your own cutting garden on his monthly garden tours, which will begin in May.

The Milntown House Tours are due to begin again on Wednesday March 27, and will take place every Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm until September 27.

For the first time the bedroom of Sir Clives Edwards, Milntown’s last owner, will be open to the public.

The estate added that they are always looking for individuals to help out on a voluntary basis either in the gardens or on house tours.

If you are interested in volunteering at Milntown please contact Paul Ogden the estate manager on 812321.

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