Grass Clippings

Changing times

The seasonal change has begun, and the mornings are damper now with a slight nip in the air at 5am. Autumn is a great time to be out on the course and the changing colours as the trees begin to turn present a dramatic back drop to the holes. Despite the deluge of rain that hit the estate earlier in the month, the course is holding up and the fairway over seeding has germinated well and the fine textured grasses are popping through. The renovations last week were a start-stop affair but once the weather stabilized the team were able to get the job done.

This week fairway top dressing has been applied and we are beginning to manage the course for the winter. The tennis renovations have gone well, and the seed is germinating as I type. Chris has altered the winter programme for these processes and this season we are renovating and seeding the courts as normal but applying the dressing later in the spring. This is to give the grass seedlings a chance to establish and grow without the possibility of heavy rains to come making a large mud pie over the courts’ surfaces. We are also working on all the winter programmes for the sections and which projects need to be progressed with. We are currently waiting for planning permission to enable work to be initiated on the 10th tee, as the fencing and tee re-orientation needs planning consent.

Due to changes within the team, we are currently recruiting for a new Head Greenkeeper and Head Gardener for the sections. After six years at the Club, Ashley Allpress is going to head up the course at Guildford GC and is looking forward to new challenges for the future. After 26 years at the Club, Steve Hutchens will be stepping down from the Head Gardener role in the gardens but will stay with the department full time. We wish both well in their new roles and I shall update the Members with the recruitment drive in the future weeks.

Asian Hornet alert

Our local bee keeping association has put out an alert that there have been sightings of Asian Hornets in the vicinity of Ascot. Although smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than our native wasps and hornets. They do pose a risk to honeybees and work is already underway to monitor for any hornet activity and to identify any nests nearby. This is the first confirmed UK sighting since September 2020, when one Asian hornet nest was identified and destroyed near Gosport, Hampshire. As an aggressive hornet species, the Asian variety can decimate bee colonise and cause havoc for aperies which could be detrimental to British honey production if they establish colonises in the UK. It is a sign of the times that pests and disease from outside the country are becoming increasing identified as potential issues, which is systematic to milder winters and warmer summers.

Chiswick House and Gardens congratulations

Chiswick House and Gardens has won the London in Bloom award this year, it follows a great amount of investment in the gardens of property which has been a haven for members of the community during the pandemic. Chiswick House is a Palladian villa in the borough of its namesake and is a fine example of Neo-Palladian architecture in London, the house was built and designed by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and completed in 1729. The gardens were created mainly by architect and landscape designer William Kent and are an early example of the English landscape garden revival style. The property was ceded to William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire, Charlotte’s husband. After William’s death in 1764, the villa passed to his young son, William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire. During the 19th century the house fell into decline and was rented out by the Cavendish family. It was used as an asylum from 1892. In 1929, the 9th Duke of Devonshire sold Chiswick House to Middlesex County Council, and it became a fire station. The villa suffered damage during World War II, and in 1944 a V-2 rocket damaged one of the two wings and subsequently the wings were demolished in 1956. Today the house is a Grade I listed building and is maintained by English Heritage. Its list of accolades this year also include: –

Heritage Park of the Year – Gold
Walled Garden of the Year – Gold and joint category winner with Eastcote Gardens
Our Community – Gold
It’s your neighborhood – Level 5 Outstanding for Goosefoot Volunteers
It’s your neighborhood – Level 5 Outstanding for Kitchen Garden Volunteers

Peter Bradburn, Course and Grounds Manager –