Gardening & wildlife at Trevibban Mill
As visitors to the vineyard soon understand, we don’t just grow vines and apples at Trevibban Mill. We have an orchard of chestnut trees, a garden full of fennel, thyme, rosemary and other delicious herbs which Andy uses in his kitchen, a greenhouse where Liz nurtures all her seedlings in Spring which later in the season give us tomatoes, cucumbers, gherkins and peppers, and we also grow flowers to cut for the vases on our restaurant tables.
In front of the terrace we have an acre of land which is sown twice per year to provide us first with grazing rye and vetch (cut in early summer for hay for our sheep the following year) and then with Phacelia, a green manure planted to add organic matter to the soil which should soon be a mass of beautiful blue flowers. We also harvest wild edible plants like wild garlic, sloes, blackberries and elderflower growing in our hedgerows and woods. At one stage we even tried to plant olive trees! Engin eventually conceded that as much as he would love to replicate his grandfather’s farm here in Cornwall, some things you just can’t grow without the Mediterranean sun!
The reason that we grow such a wide variety of plants and crops is primarily because we have a deep love of flora and gardening. The other is that, because we farm organically, we understand the importance of creating an environment with great biodiversity which will allow our grapes and apples to flourish and we did not wish to farm a mono-culture.
How do the animals help?
The Southdown sheep that graze our vineyard are used to keep the vineyard tidy as we don’t use any kind of chemical weed killer to remove unwanted plant life. In the spring when the grape buds burst and the ewes are lambing, we move them to the apple and chestnut orchards so they don’t nibble on the fledgling grape shoots. During lambing the ewes are given our hay to eat, cut from the grazing rye grown the previous summer. When the lambs are of age we use their meat in the restaurant and the sheep’s wool that we shear every May is spun for us locally and sold in our on site shop.
We also have a gorgeous grey feral cat who stalks the vineyard catching mice and voles, a heron who lives at the lake (full of frogs and trout), a relatively tame pheasant who keeps appearing in the garden, a barn owl who occasionally flies around in daylight, a goldfinch who’s made her nest in a vine and a much loved Jack Russell, Charlie, who belongs to our equally loved team member, Maggie