The historic Milntown estate on the outskirts of Ramsey opened its gardens for the 2014 season this week.
During the winter, some of the borders in the walled gardens have been renovated, removing overgrown clumps of herbaceous perennials, replenishing the soil and replanting new varieties that have been produced in Milntown’s own nursery.
As the central areas of the walled garden are full of herbaceous perennials and seasonal plantings, such as many colourful dahlias, they are quite high maintenance. So these new plantings are low maintenance, and almost all are evergreen perennials with contrasting foliage colours and shapes.
Further shrub plantings have been made in several areas, with many new varieties adding to the growing collections of plants at Milntown.
This spring there will be new plantings of camellias in the woodland areas.
Camellias grow especially well at Milntown, enjoying the shelter and microclimate of the gardens. Thirty new varieties will be introduced, including new cultivars bred in New Zealand and the USA, rare species from China, varieties from the 1800s and camellia sinensis.
After consulting with the restaurant’s chef, Simon Child, the Milntown gardeners have planned their kitchen garden production for this year.
A selection of both traditional and new varieties of vegetables have been chosen, from Hamburg parsley to ‘Black Magic’ kale, many of which will be seen on the Milntown restaurant menu, fresh from the garden.
Salad leaves will feature strongly, with some striking lettuce varieties. Some new pathways are being laid through the kitchen garden to make it even more accessible and this summer look out for the ‘vegetable tunnel’.
The Milntown nursery will continue to produce a small selection of plants for sale to visitors.
This spring there will be some small specimens of the ‘filo pastry tree’ (polylepsis australis) for sale, along with some of the Milntown ‘tree echiums’ that were admired by visitors (and bees) last summer.
This season the Milntown estate will be host to a variety of events including treasure hunts for children, craft fairs, exploring the wildlife with the Manx Wildlife Trust and welcoming back Crossroads Care this Easter for the annual Easter hunt.
The Milntown house tours are due to begin again on Wednesday, April 16, and will take place every Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm until Saturday, September 27.
Booking is advisable as places are limited.
Milntown garden tours will take place monthly during the summer.
Bookings for house and garden tours can be made by phoning 812321.
Milntown has a team of volunteers who help with house tours, events and in the gardens.
They come from a wide range of backgrounds including a former police inspector, teachers, nurses and a bank manager.
Milntown is always looking for individuals to help out on a voluntary basis. If you have some free time and would like to be part of the estate contact Paul Ogden, the estate manager, on 812321.
The Milntown restaurant is open from 10am–5pm daily (excluding Tuesdays).