Finch Foundry’s beautiful garden

We held our Dartmoor Senior Leadership Team meeting at Finch Foundry yesterday – I got there early so I could take a few photographs of the garden.

Finch's garden
The garden is very colourful at the moment and is looked after by Catherine, an NT volunteer and her two assistants Sheryl and Mike – they do an excellent job – thank you

Alstroemeria aura Peruvian Lilly –  I love the markings

A red monbretia

Briza major
The Quaking Grass – Briza major

Tree bumblebee
The garden also attracts lots of insects – here is a tree bumblebee – a species that has only recently arrived in the UK. See here for further details of the arrival of the tree bumblebee

Soldier beetles
A mating pair of the very common soldier beetle Rhagonycha fulva

Rutpela maculataAnd the black and yellow longhorn beetle Rutpela maculata

Finch Foundry is well worth a visit – see a bit of old industrial Devon and a beautiful garden – see here for more details.

Parke’s Walled Garden is coming alive

Here are a few shots from Parke’s Walled Garden

Parke WG2Lovely display of miniature daffodils – they may be small but they are around the same size as wild daffodils!

Parke WG3Beautiful colours in these quince flowers

Parke WG4Almond flowers – really deep pinks and purples

Parke WG1Onions

Parke WG6 The vineyard – still sleeping

Parke WG5The view from the top of the Walled Garden down towards Bovey Tracey

Spring in the Walled Garden

Glorious sunny day in the Walled Garden at Parke yesterday – here are a few photos.

Parke 1Little bowl of daffs

Parke 2The almond is flowering – pretty spectacular

Parke 3It was swarming with honey bees and hoverflies – this one is the drone fly Eristalis tenax.  These were the first honey bees and hoverflies I had seen this year

Parke 4And  here is an almond from last year

Parke Walled Garden – some old photos

It is less than a decade ago that we started to restore Parke’s Walled Garden – here are a few photographs showing some of that work.

Parke WG7The walls are being ‘repainted’ with lime wash – the garden is still a jungle and the capping wall tins have yet to be replaced

Parke WG6Repairing the main wall

Parke WG3An old photo from the early 1900s – note the glass house and the box hedges around the beds

Parke WG2Major Hole’s gardener

Parke WG4This pit outside the Walled Garden used to house the boiler for the glass house – you can still see some of the pipework

It is good to see the Walled Garden now back in use and we hope that as the years go by and more money becomes available we will be able to restore some of the other older features that were once in the garden.

Parke WG1And finally the sunset over the Walled Garden yesterday evening

Parke’s summer harvest

The Walled Garden at Parke is currently looking amazing – the fruits and many of the vegetables are coming up and are ready for harvest. Once ready all the fruit will be one sale at Parke (first come first served!) or will go to Parke’s Home Farm Cafe.

GrapesGrapes – both white and red varieties have done well this year. We will be juicing them on Apple Day later in the year – maybe wine in the future!
NB – these are the red grapes – the white ones on this bunch will turn red soon.

ApplesDon’t these apples look good?

PearsSame goes for the pears

LogonberryI just want to pick this loganberry straight off the page!

FigsThe figs are half way there – give them a month and they will be ready too

TomsTomatoes in the polytunnel

MarrowHmmm – is this a marrow or a pumpkin? I suspect the latter.

Finch’s garden

Popped into Finch Foundry earlier in the week to see how the team were getting on with Ben, the Foundry Manager on holiday – all is well! Took a few pictures of the lovely garden at Finch – it is looking  really fabulous. Well done to the volunteers who look after it so carefully. Here is the link to the full photo set.

Poppy1Red poppy

Poppy2Plenty more poppies still to flower

IrisBlue iris

GrassThe grass Briza major


CarnationA type of carnation



Drogo’s tower – top notch

Been to Castle Drogo today – fantastic trip up the new Tower to review the repair works – absolutely brilliant – a must do thing! This along with the visit to the garden made a great afternoon’s entertainment. During the winter Tower trips only occur at the weekend – check here for full opening time details. Here are a few pictures from my visit.

Panorama - roof


Drogo’s roof under the biggest tent and scaffolding you have ever seen

Roof 2

It takes a few moments to get your bearings – everything looks so different.

Roof 5

Big time scaffolding.

Roof 10

The trip up the Tower.

Garden 1

And into the garden – the view across to Hay Tor.

Garden 2


Garden 3

More maples

Garden 7

Down the main path

Garden 4

The garden seat

A full set of photos can be seen here

Life and death at Finch Foundry

I was over at Finch Foundry this afternoon to have a catch up meeting with Ben (the brilliant Foundry Manager) and afterwards I was mesmerised by a buddleia bush by the tea room – it was absolutely stuffed with butterflies, bumblebees, moths and hoverflies.

In 15 minutes I reckon there were 25 small tortoiseshells, 5 red admirals, 5 peacocks, various small whites, small copper, meadow browns, a silver washed fritillary, a silver Y moth and four species of bumblebee. Impressive – one of the most busy feeding frenzies I have seen – definitely worth a look if you are at Finch – right next to the entrance.

And then out of nowhere a hornet appeared and zapped one of the peacock butterflies – savaged it, tearing off its wings before flying off with the body …

The Serengeti arrived at Finch in front of my eyes.

Here are are my photos.

Small T


One of the 25 small tortoiseshells

Red tail 3Red tailed bumblebee

Red admiral

Red admiral

SW Frit

Silver washed fritillary

Hornet and peacock

And finally .. the hornet dispatching the peacock