By Andrew Humphris, Head Gardener
Winter in a large garden is a busy time of year despite the challenges the weather throws at us every day. The weather itself creates work from picking up twigs and branches after storms, then covering up tenderish plants with fleece and mulch when hard frosts are forecast.
Since Christmas we have finished our climbing rose pruning and have now started on Apple tree pruning which will take us a good month to complete. During January the ground was frozen for a complete week which enabled us to get across otherwise boggy ground to the Hazel coppice area. We were able to cut all of our bean poles and plant supports and pea sticks for use throughout the garden.
The gradual renewal and eradication of bindweed in the garden is ongoing. The rose garden has been fallow for 2 years and we are now carrying out our final digging of the beds to remove any other remaining bits of root. This will be followed by the planting of the new roses. We are not planting any herbaceous plants this year as we are concerned about bindweed roots under the paths coming back again. This will also allow the roses to establish without competition and then we will complete the planting next winter.
Adjacent to the rose garden is the sundial garden which is surrounded by Rosa ‘ Blanc double de Coubert’. This unfortunately is heavily infested with bindweed so we are removing it and will leave this area fallow until it is clean.
The other half of the Blue borders has been fallow for 2 years as well and we believe is relatively clean from bindweed now. This too will be double dug this winter and planted in the spring.
We will be re-potting all of our plants in the display house and our Pelargonium collection before we open in March, as well as cutting down and tidying all of our borders.
Getting the garden in good order by the spring is key to being able to maintain it and keep it in good condition throughout the summer.
We are excited by the progress and the new planting schemes which should enhance the garden further.