Extreme weeding at St Michael's Mount
Perched on the top of a rocky island off the south Cornwall coast, St Michael's Mount is home to some of our more adventurous gardeners.
Don't look down
Keeping the granite stones free of invasive weeds involves abseiling 50m down the castle walls. It’s a task worthy of heroic invading armies but for our team it’s all in a day’s work.
The gardeners at St Michael's rope up three times a year to carry out extreme weeding on the 12th century castle. The work ensures the stonework remains intact and strong and allows succulents planted within the walls, such as aloes and aeoniums, to thrive.
A gardener’s eye view
‘Abseiling has become an important skill to complete essential strimming and planting of the many nooks and crannies within the cliff face,’ says head gardener Lottie Allen. ‘Plants grow in spite of the salty winter storms and the baking summer temperatures.’
‘It is a thrilling and unique experience to tend these gardens which are designed to be viewed from above,’ adds Lottie. ‘Abseiling allows me to appreciate the spectacular views of our gardens across the seasons and in all weathers.’
Caring for historic castles
One of the most recognisable places on the Cornish coast, St Michael’s Mount is separated from the mainland by a tidal causeway. We’ve cared for the island in partnership with the St Aubyn family since 1954 who still live in this unique community.
Extreme weeding is also needed each year at Bodiam Castle in East Sussex, which alongside St Michael’s Mount is one of 41 castles we look after. Removing weeds from the medieval sandstone ruin involves a two person team abseiling over 60ft battlements above the moat.