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Autumn festival – 18th and 19th October 2014

September 8, 2014

A date for your diaries. Our autumn festival is fast approaching and you are all welcome to come join in the fun. Sample and purchase apples from a great range of local varieties, grown on here in The Vyne’s own orchards. Watch the workings of a traditional apple press, have a go at breaking up the apples and see the juice run. Held in our walled garden you’ll find various local craft stallholders and the chance to enjoy besom broom making and other activities for the whole family to get involved. There will also be a falconry display with various birds for you to see in action.

This is a wonderful social event so please do come along and enjoy the day with us in what is a beautiful part of the Hampshire countryside. See our events calendar for more information.

The delights of autumn harvest at The Vyne - Hampshire

The delights of autumn harvest at The Vyne – Hampshire


Keith Gillings our highly industrious and very knowlegable  fruit volunteer carefully selects ripe apples.

Keith Gillings our highly industrious and very knowlegable fruit volunteer carefully selects ripe apples.


The preparation for our apples in full swing in the orchard

The preparation for storage of our apples in full swing in the orchard

Aerial acrobats

August 31, 2014

Dragonflies (order Odonata)

Dragonflies are among the fastest flying insects in the world. They can fly backwards, change direction in mid-air and hover for up to a minute while maintaining a fixed position above the ground. There are almost 6000 species worldwide. Here in the UK there are 56 species, a figure that includes closely related  damselflies. Dragonflies are easily identified as they hold their wings perpendicular to their bodies whereas damselflies hold theirs closed above the torso when at rest.

We have a variety of slow flowing water habitats here at The Vyne most of which are fringed with reeds and grasses. These make a perfect spot to observe these acrobatic wonders of nature as they flit about there business of hunting other insects for food or finding a mate.

You can observe dragonflies as early as mid April through to September. Warm days are best and if you want to capture images of these wonderful insects you’ll need a camera with either a macro lens for detailed closeups or a 200mm zoom lens. The later will enable you to get in close without disturbing the subject.

As you can see below there are many interesting species that can regularly be seen around our lake and wetland areas. So why not pop by and see if you can spot a species we haven’t yet spied?

If you manage to capture that prized macro shot. Well, why not share it with us to be featured in a future article here on the blog?

Top - Emperor dragonfly, Black tailed skimmer. Bottom - Broad bodied chaser and Common darter.

Top – Emperor dragonfly, Black tailed skimmer. Bottom – Broad bodied chaser and Common darter. Copyright – James Meikle




Sandham – a memorial to the forgotten

August 23, 2014

I’ve enjoyed working in many areas of the Trust over the past three years. I get a wonderful buzz just being involved and working alongside like minded individuals, each full of enthusiasm, energy and a deep love of our special places.

A side effect of this love is that you forget how busy and full your days are most of the time. Today I stopped, perhaps in memory of reading the William Henry Davies poem Leisure ‘What is this life, full of care, we have no time to stop and stare?’

Sandham, a little known treasure of our english heritage had been on my radar too long. I had some ‘me’ time and I spent it discovering this unique place for myself.

What I found was peace and serenity away from the clamour of day to day life. A glimpse into one mans personal experiences of the first world war. Stanley Spencer has a profound understanding of shape and form and uses this to tell his story in quite a unique and powerful way.

It’s also a place you can reflect on life. The Chapel deserves your time and the garden lovingly created by volunteers and staff is a peaceful place to enjoy in it’s self.

Discover more about this unique place: Sandham memorial chapel

Sculpture 'Blown away'

Sculpture ‘Blown away’ presides over the garden of reflection


Sizzling Summer garden

August 9, 2014

If you enjoy perennial border colour then a stroll though our summer garden will be right up your path. Our very dedicated gardening team of staff and volunteers have worked their magic again this year filling this space full to brimming with herbaceous perennials to catch the eye. Summer is rolling by so now is as good a time as any to enjoy them at their best.

Background bed: Ricinus Carmencita 'Bright Red', Salvia 'Victoria Mix', Pennistum 'Vertigo' and Geranium "Maverick Pink'. Foreground bed: Coleus 'Kong Rose' and Heliotrope 'Marine'.

Background bed: Ricinus Carmencita ‘Bright Red’, Salvia ‘Victoria Mix’, Pennistum ‘Vertigo’, Geranium “Maverick Pink’ and Ageratum ‘High Tide’.Foreground bed: Coleus ‘Kong Rose’ and Heliotrope ‘Marine’.

Coleus 'Kong rose' and Heliotrope 'marine'

Looking west towards the stables – Coleus ‘Kong rose’ and Heliotrope ‘marine’

A little history with your herbs

July 31, 2014

Herb Wheel



Herb wheel in our walled garden

Herb wheel in our walled garden

Herb Wheel Diag

Cockoo-pint: A feisty little fellow

July 23, 2014

Arum maculatum is a common woodland plant species of the Araceae family and widespread across northern Europe. It is known as lords-and-ladies, devils and angels, cows and bulls, cuckoo-pint, Adam and Eve, wake robin and friar’s cowl among many others.

Many small rodents appear to find the spadix (flower bearing spike) particularly attractive and it is easy to find examples of the spadix eaten away. The spadix produces heat and probably scent as the flowers mature and it may be this that attracts the rodents.

In the past this plant has been used as a substitute for arrowroot when properly prepared. It should be noted however that the tissues contain calcium oxalate which can cause irritation to the skin and if swallowed lead to swelling of the tongue and potentially breathing problems.


Arum maculatum - common name Cockoo-Pint

Arum maculatum – common name Cockoo-Pint. A curious plant that needs a little respect.

Campanula glomerata – A stunning sight in summer

July 12, 2014

On your journey past the weir to the house you’ll encounter a striking and very attractive purple flowering perennial. Over the past three weeks the number one gardening question received by our visitor reception team has been ‘what is this plant and do we sell them?’.

The plant in question is Campanula glomerata. The genus Latin name (“campanula”), meaning small bell, refers to the bell-shape of the flower, while the specific name (“glomerata”) refers to the tight grouping of the flowers at the top of the stem.

Campanula glomerata is a stunning and compact perennial herbaceous plant.

Campanula glomerata is a stunning and compact perennial herbaceous plant.

Commonly known as clustered bellflower or Dane’s blood, the species is native across Europe and Japan. In Europe it is present almost everywhere. Generally it prefers calcareous well drained soil but will tolerate most garden soils and reliably flowers from early to  late summer. It readily enjoys and thrives in full sun.

These plants will quickly form a large clump, so allow plenty of space when planting. They are also easily divided in spring or autumn. Plants may benefit from a hard clipping back immediately after blooming, to maintain a low, compact shape.

We rarely have this plant for sale unfortunately but they are very easily propagated by division so a kind word in a green-fingered friends ear may prove fruitful.

In Russian folk medicine this plant has been used to treat headaches, rheumatic pain, coughs and epilepsy.


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