As we moved into autumn the supply of fruit and veg continued unabated.
It really has been an astonishing year for fruit and veg. Almost all our apple trees produced fruit and although quite a few fell before ripening there were many sweet and succulent apples to pick. They are never quite like the pristine shop apples...a bit of scab here, a wasp mark there....but if that doesn’t bother you then the taste rewards are great and a home picked apple has something about it...its special, like all the fruit and veg from the garden. On the radio it was reported that this year has been the most prolific for brambles for over 40yrs and I would tend to agree. On my favourite spots we picked pound after pound and it went on until, eventually, a punishing frost put an end to things in the 3rd week of October. That frost flattened the beans and bedding too, but as I wrote last year, the sweet peas carried on regardless...an astonishing plant.
On November 2nd the main migration of fieldfares arrived. Pitlochry was alive, for a few days, with jostling fieldfares descending on any and every rowan tree they could find. And their luck was in because rowans, too, have had a bumper year so vast amounts of berries were on offer. As suddenly as they arrived they were gone. Onwards south to harvest the fruits and find a more clement climate to over winter than from where they came. The geese had arrived much earlier. They came in numbers on October 18th with large numbers of whooper swans accompanying them.
Mixed wallflowers interplanted with tulips have been planted in the new beds in front of the hotel. This year, with encouragement from the owners, we changed a couple of beds directly in front of the hotel from shrubs to bedding. The summer show of colour was fantastic so we hope that the wallflowers and tulips will brighten up the hotel, and lift the spirits, in early spring 2014.
The “gardeners” have been asked to multitask and take over the care of the swimming pool and spa complex. Water tests are taken 3 or 4 times a day....every day.... so we are having to brush up on our knowledge of chlorine levels, ph levels, alkalinity, hardness.....and you might have thought a pool was just some warm water to swim in. Well it is but, my goodness, it doesn’t half need closely watched and we are about to have another Green Tourism award inspection to add to the diversity of work! With the help of an excellent,hardworking "Green Team" we have managed to attain Gold awards over the last 3 inspections but the bar keeps getting raised so we are going to have to "roll up our sleeves" to keep in the top bracket....because that is where we intend to be.New members have joined the team and we will try our very best to keep at the top level of Green sustainable tourism.
A new member has joined out gardening, water supply, swimming pool team. Young Andrew Rutherford joins us from Perth council and we hope he enjoys his work at the Palace, and Fishers hotel, and spends many happy and constructive years here....a young presence as Kenny and I get older!
Wed 6th November saw the first snow fall at Palace level. Winter is coming.
PS. A pine marten was recorded in the herb garden at 8am the other day. A wonderful sighting for someone.