"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?"
At long last we have warmth and sunshine. Second week in April and spring has arrived after the 2nd longest,coldest,driest winter since 1914 in the Tummel valley.
Grass will grow quickly now, as before the warmth came we had some heavy rain which will have done no end of good to the ground and plants. Surprisingly itís not only the minus temperatures during the long spell of cold weather which has killed off many of our shrubs, but the drought! Yes, drought. Plants faced with months of cold,hard weather simply canít mobilise moisture so they perish....and many shrubs have. The vast majority of the plants have survived but some notables donít seem to have made it. Ceanothus and Hypericum are two which we had thought were hardy but many of them donít look as if they will recover. They will be given another week to see if buds appear somewhere on the stems but the omens donít look good.The finer grass on the putting green ,also, doesnít look very pretty but with a good feed and regular cutting I am hopeful that in a few weeks the damaged turf will regenerate and offer a fine putting surface.
We are engaged in a nationwide ,grey squirrel control programme at the Palace. In a normal year we donít expect to see more than a couple of greys but seeing is one thing. Since joining the local campaign to control these engaging,but invasive animals we have been surprised at how many seem to have been coming through unnoticed. Time will tell if this effort will have any long term effect on their spread, personally I doubt it but we must try. Reds are showing on all the feeders,especially in the morning, and they seem to be unaffected by the occasional appearance of a wandering grey male.The mallard ducks are busy nesting within the grounds and the attending males can be seen huddled together on the driveway or in the ponds, patiently waiting for the ducks to come off the nest for a break.One other unusual sighting was of a common newt. It,a pregnant female by the look of things,had found itís way into the outdoor pool and could be seen sunbathing on the poolside throughout last week.
So now that spring is here(large skeins of Pinkfeet and Whooper swans went over this morning) work will pick up quickly. Our Iconic trees are arriving this week and they will need to be carefully planted and protected. In the vegetable garden we are aiming to produce more fresh greens and herbs for the kitchen and that can be a very rewarding task although it does take time, weeds love vegetable beds.
Spring has finally sprung. Come and enjoy a stroll in the Palace grounds where colour and scent and wildlife are all there to enjoy. 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.