"The Atholl Palace is one of my favourite places where each year we meet up with good friends and have fun. It's the perfect place to stay in a perfect setting with lovely people looking after us. What more could a person want?"
Cold and wet weather is par for the course at this time of year but the late autumn of 2008 has been particularily dreich.
Black ice, a phrase that sends tremors through the hearts early morning drivers, has been unusually common this year. After light rain or a gentle thaw,overnight, daylight brings a sharp frost and the road surface becomes like glass. Several times in the last few weeks this combination has occurred and driving has been treacherous for the first few hours of the day. But it has a good sideÖ.bugs hate frost so although the plants and shrubs may look as if they are about to die(few actually do) the bugs which are trying to overwinter get thinned out and that benefits the plants when they put on a surge in the spring.
Cold weather is also a good time to treat the lawns and putting greens for moss. We are often asked how we deal with moss and the answer is always the same, persistence! I donít think that there is any chemical that you can administer then forget about, as moss gets established on lawns because of poor conditions, lack of drainage mainly. We spray on iron, from a knapsack, leave it to work away at the moss for a few weeks then scarify the lawn. Thatch and dead moss are lifted out in large quantities and disposed of and the lawn can look pretty shabby after this treatment, but a low nitrogen general feed soon perks it up and puts it in fine condition for growing away quickly when the weather warms. If the moss is particularily bad then we might treat the area a couple of times and that usually does the trick.
Elsewhere in the garden itís routine maintenance at this time of year. Trees are pruned and dangerous branches are removed, dead vegetation is cut back and the vast quantities of leaves are swept up or mulched. Pruning the climbing roses in the herb garden was a real challenge. Some, especially the ramblers, have put on a huge amount of growth and dealing with their vicious spikes caused many an expletive! However as they are trained up an old wall we didnít want all the new growth and fragrant flowers to be 20ft up in the air so hard pruning was required and they look the better for it.
After six years of teamwork developing the gardens we have had a hiccup. Kenny requires some hospital treatment to get him back up to full strength and he will be away for a few months. As one who has worked with him closely over the last years I will miss him. So get well quickly, Kenny , and all of us look forward to your return to continue the ongoing work of improving the gardens and grounds that we love so much. Have a very Happy Christmas and I hope 2009 is prosperous for you all. Innes
Innes finished in 04:41:34 and came 1987 out of 4117 who completed the race. A fabulous achievement!
Thank You to all sponsors.