Our work outdoors at The Firs

Dawne Middleton, Gardener to Sir Edward Elgar Dawne Middleton Gardener to Sir Edward Elgar
daisy walk and picnic area at The Firs

Since taking over stewardship of The Firs, Elgar's Birthplace we have spent time restoring the garden back to it's former glory. We are now starting to develop areas of the outdoor space to make your visit more enjoyable and develop sustainable resources.

Daisy walk picnic area

There are many different types of daisies, in fact there are more than 20,000 species of plants that fall into the daisy family, we have but a few at The Firs, mainly the Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) and the common daisy (Bellis perennis). 

To highlight this beautiful simple flower we have created a tactile ‘Daisy walk’ where you can meander through this small meadow in the orchard and study the breathtakingly simple but beautiful collection of wild flowers we have here. On calm days you can sit at the picnic benches and hear the bees busily flying from flower to flower - they are currently loving the pink Clover (Trifolium pretense).

There are bustling Bluetits feasting in the apple trees above, collecting bugs and caterpillars for their young. Find the bird spotting information sheets in reception to help you identify the birds flitting around in the orchard and the garden. Whilst you rest a while on the picnic benches, take in the stunning vista across the fields and countryside towards Clent and the Lickey Hills and listen to the peaceful Elgar countryside.

We do provide doggie water bowls in the Sound garden area to help keep them cool, as well as doggie waste bins.


We are now composting at The Firs.

Our new 3 bay compost bins have been erected and we’ve started filling them with our garden waste.

Composting is such a good thing to do for many reasons and easy to do on a small scale in any garden. It is a natural process where our garden waste breaks down and becomes a valuable product that we can use in the garden to improve the condition of the soil and in turn improve plant growth in the garden.

Dawne filling up our new composting bins
new composting bins at The Firs
Dawne filling up our new composting bins

Composting is just like cooking, our ingredients are ‘Greens’ and ‘Browns’. ‘Greens’ are soft materials such as grass clippings, weeds, deadheads off flowers and other prunings. These are layered with ‘Browns’ such as dried leaves, wood chippings, small twigs and paper/brown cardboard.

We make sure that the layers are kept moist with water, and then cover them up. The compost heap then starts to warm up, and the heat generated will start the composting process. After several months of watering and turning the contents, we will be left with a sweet smelling humus-rich product which we all know as Compost. The added benefit is that worms and other insects love the compost and these can be really useful in the garden to help improve the soil condition and also to reduce other pests in the garden.

We’ll be using our compost in the autumn as a mulch (top dressing) for our flower beds in readiness for winter.