"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?"
Perthshire wasn’t brought to a standstill in the “worst snowfall for 18yrs” but we did have some snow which made getting about a little awkward.
Log burning stoves seem to be all the rage due to the higher energy costs but like all fires they need to be fuelled. This increased demand for wood has made sourcing it, in reasonable quantities, increasingly difficult. The open fires at the Palace consume a massive 35 tons each winter so we need a fair sized pile to keep us going and we try to get good hardwood, which is even scarcer. Much of our uplands are covered in softwood, various forms of spruce and pine, but for a decent log fire it’s next to useless and in the big open fires of the hotel it disappears up the chimney at an alarming rate so the 35tons rapidly becomes 45tons.
When Kenny and I first took over the gardens 7yrs ago all the wood we required was felled in the grounds, hand split with axes and stacked ready for the fires. We had little time for anything else and shoulders and elbows suffered. We now buy in our wood as limbs and we have a simple but effective log splitter which deals with the most horrible log in quick time and the result is that we have time to do the real gardening work that has become necessary to prepare the grounds for the coming season. This doesn’t mean that the woodlands are neglected, far from it, but now we can work away in sections, developing the woodlands as an extension to the gardens rather than being under pressure to fell timber in the most accessible areas, purely for firewood. Despite the wintry weather we have managed to scarify and feed the lawns and putting green so they are ready for spring, whenever that happens. When a dry day comes along we will be getting on with the beds and borders as even this early in the season the weeds are beginning to show and they are so much more easily dealt with if given a treatment now, rather than waiting until they have their roots well down. We tend to spot spray, or paint, with roundup at this time of year as I have often felt that hand weeding merely pulls the top off the plant and many grow even faster from the remaining root system. Also with the main flowers still deep in hibernation there is far less chance of touching a “valuable plant” with the roundup because once touched.....there is no way back.
Snowdrops and aconites are in flower, the many thousands of crocuses are through the ground in the Japanese garden and we await their flowering and buds are beginning to appear on some of the earlier trees and shrubs. It may be a while yet until spring but things are beginning to move. 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.