Walkers at Treowen

The Thursday morning walking group who last visited Treowen in October came back on May 7th. They were very lucky with the weather and after a beautiful walk through Treowen wood and down to the meadows by the Trothy, returned to the house for coffee and a chance to admire the garden in the spring sunshine.

Out in the meadow beyond Treowen wood.
Out in the meadow beyond Treowen wood.
On the way back to the house.
On the way back to the house.
Coffee in the Treowen kitchen.
Coffee in the Treowen kitchen.
Treowen in the May sunshine.
Treowen in the May sunshine with the apple trees in blossom.

New curtains for the Oak room

Shortly after the Wheelock family moved to Treowen in 1954, Richard and Hilary’s brother-in-law gave them two beautiful pairs of curtains, specially designed and made in his factory in Birkenhead. Where the curtains meet in the centre of each window, there are embroidered figures in Jacobean costumes, representing the Wheelock family at that time.

Embroidery on Oak room curtains, celebrating the Wheelock family's arrival at Treowen in 1954. Hilary Wheelock with daughters Jane and Emma.
Embroidery on Oak room curtains, celebrating the Wheelock family’s arrival at Treowen in 1954. Hilary Wheelock with daughters Jane and Emma.
Richard Wheelock with sons Dick and John.
Richard Wheelock with sons Dick and John.

Over time however, the light has damaged the fabric of the curtains, particularly the pair facing west. So we have taken them down to preserve them and new curtains have been made for the room. This is quite an undertaking as the windows are very wide and the curtains very long – 3.3 and 2.9 metre drops. Twenty metres of material and the same of lining were needed. They are a similar colour to the previous pair with a traditional brocade design and we are very pleased at how they look in the Oak room.

 

North window with curtains closed.
North window with curtains closed.

 

Borders planted in knot garden

Since Christmas, the knot garden on the back lawn at Treowen has really taken shape

 

The pattern in each of the borders showing yew hedges and contrasting sections I. White gravel and plum coulered slate.
The pattern in each of the corner borders of the back lawn showing yew hedges and contrasting sections of white gravel and plum coloured  slate.
View of border from orchard end of garden.
View of border from orchard end of garden.

New car parking at Treowen

View of parking from Treowen house.
View of new car parking from Treowen house.

Although there is plenty of parking by the house for those staying at Treowen, extra parking for wedding and party guests has been provided on the verges of the drive or in the orchard at Treowen with guests making their way across the back lawn to the house.

Unfortunately, the changing pattern of rainfall over the past few years, with increasingly intense downpours both in summer and winter, has meant that parking on grass is no longer a viable option and that more hard standing parking is required.

After much consideration, extra hard parking for 25 cars has been created by taking a piece off the field just past the turning to the house off the drive. Visitors can be dropped off by this turning for an easy walk to the house and cars will be parked with no visible impact on the house and its setting or on the tenants in the conversions by the house.

View of new parking, just finished. A hedge has been planted between the field and parking and lanterns light the way to the house.
View of new parking looking towards Treowen. A hedge has been planted on the right between the field and parking and lanterns on the trees to the left light the way to the house.

 

 

Knot garden update

These  photos taken at a wedding just before Christmas – see previous post of today,
“Treowen from the air” – give a great idea of how the finished knot garden will look.

Elizabethan and Jacobean gardeners used brightly coloured stones in their borders, surrounded by low hedges and we are doing the same. The coloured stones – plum coloured slate and white gravel – have been ordered and will be delivered this week for laying as soon as the weather allows.

The back garden with house
The back garden with house
Closer view of garden layout. The purple we'd guard shows the border areas.
Closer view of garden layout and the orchard beyond. The purple weedguard shows the border areas for the knot garden and the photo also gives a great view of the roof structure of the house!

 

Treowen from the air

Treowen  with front garden
Treowen with front garden

In this post we have some truly spectacular shots of Treowen taken at a wedding just before Christmas 2014 by a drone. They give a great bird’s eye view of Treowen and its wonderful setting.

Looking towards the Black mountains
Looking towards the Black mountains
The Black mountains at dusk
Towards Craig-y- Dorth and Trellech ridge, early morning

 

 

 

 

Planting the knot garden hedges

After a lot of thought, Dick and John have decided to use yew rather than box to make the hedge for the parterres. Box blight is a big problem and if it were to get to Treowen the whole thing would have to be dug up and replanted.

Before the planting can begin, the bare ground was covered by  WeedGuard to stop weed growth.

A few days later, 1,300 small yew trees were delivered and planted over three days by John, Dick and Emma.

John rolls out the Terraguard
John rolls out the WeedGuard (above) and marks out the pattern for the parterre (below)

 

Knot garden 12

 

 

Walkers at Treowen

Treowen is a great place for walking and even on a blustery November day provided a memorable morning walk.

Eight members of the Thursday morning walking club from Monmouth braved the muddy conditions to walk up the back drive and then tour the garden, seeing the progress made on the knot garden to the back.

Coffee and biscuits was followed by a tour of the house and we were glad to be warm indoors as the rain came down.  The long drawing room was very much admired, as were the different styles of the bedrooms on the first and second floors as well as the cosy attics, especially the one with the shower room reached by a ladder!

Everyone is now looking forward to our next visit in the Spring and some are even hoping to organise a stay in the house for a family celebration or party.

 

A chance to admire the front garden before the rain arrived!
A chance to admire the front garden before the rain arrived!

 

Solar power at Treowen

The Treowen estate  has taken the decision to promote the use of renewable energy. Since summer 2013, the house and the surrounding farm building conversions are no longer heated by oil but by an advanced biomass wood chip heating system. Installing this was a major undertaking and will be the subject of upcoming blogs.

The new farm buildings up the drive from the house were built to replace the barn which now stores chips for the biomass  boiler. We are currently investigating the viability of installing solar panels on one of these buildings. The south west facing roof slope is ideal for solar panel installation and because it is surrounded by trees is not visible from Treowen or the other houses on the estate. It will have the capacity to feed up to 30kws of energy into the National Grid as well as providing electricty for the farm buildings themselves.

The roof on which the solar panels will be installed.
The roof on which the solar panels will be installed.

Barn solar PV 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knot garden

Levelling the walk in front of the back door
Levelling the walk in front of the back door

The back garden at Treowen  is Jacobean in origin but for many years was used as a farmyard so only the basic structure now remains. John and Dick have had plans to return the garden closer to its original form for some years and their plans are now nearing completion. Over the last two years, they have built a raised walkway within the yew hedge to complement the walkway outside the hedge with its fine views down to the lakes and across to the Welsh mountains. Retaining walls have been built all round the lawn and the ground levels raised. In the centre of the lawn is a mulberry tree, planted by their sister Emma in the 1990s.

The new layout of the garden will have a circular lawn around the tree with borders at each corner laid out as knot gardens. This is the next phase of the garden design.

On Tuesdsy this week turf was laid on the final section to complete the inner walkway around the lawn.

Rolling the walkway before laying the turf
Rolling the walkway before laying the turf
Laying the turf
Laying the turf

Over the years visitors to Treowen have enjoyed playing games on the back lawn. Croquet will still be possible and a new football pitch has been made in the field on the other side of the haha in front of the house.