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Meet The Groundskeeper

A cold end to the year at Ruthin Castle

My name is Jonathan Price and I’m the Groundskeeper at Ruthin Castle. I started working at the Castle about 6 years ago as an assistant to the gardening team. I was part time at first spending the winters working in France, but have gradually become the main groundskeeper responsible for the upkeep of the historic gardens that surround Ruthin Castle.

If you visit the Castle you’ll probably see me on my Quad with trailer getting around the site. There’s plenty to do all year round here at Ruthin Castle, we have plenty of lawn areas that in the summer require a lot of mowing and the cuttings composting. There is also a long herbaceous border located in the old walled terrace of the Castle that requires pruning and nurturing. In addition, the historic Italian Topiary Garden requires regular clipping of the shaped hedges. Last spring we renovated this area, laying new edges and stone chippings to freshen up it’s appearance, planting some new herbaceous perennials and feeding the buxus hedging. A lot of our gardening improvements and plant selections have to be sensitive to the heritage of the castle and we always consult with CADW on our plans.

The autumn months involve blowing and clearing the abundant amount of leaves from our many mature trees. This helps keep the drive and parking areas clear but also prevents moss growing on the lawn areas. We try and compost the majority of the leaves.

Plans for the winter months ahead.

We started this winter with a deep freeze in December, probably the hardest we’ve experienced for a decade. Moel Famau and the Clwydian hills looking splendid covered in snow. I’ll be busy feeding the buxus hedges in the Italian Garden with natural seaweed fertilizer as the plants could do with a boost to improve their vigour. We will also be spreading manure which is sourced from local stables on our roses and beds to ensure a splendid display throughout the summer. The next few months will see me chopping some logs from the previous year’s tree work at the Castle. We’ll be using the logs in the Tavern open fires when it re-opens it’s doors in the spring…

These are exciting times at the Castle. The restoration of the historic gatehouse, improvements to bedrooms and facilities, and a facility that all who work here are hugely proud of. Looking forward to updating this blog as the seasons pass.

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