Head Gardener's Notes
Our Gardens in July: Blooms and Maintenance
10th of Jul, 2023
- Roses: throughout the Gardens but most especially in the Union Flag Garden
- Herbaceous Borders: such as the George Carter Walk, Blue and Yellow Border, and Jubilee Walk
- Rambling and climbing roses: can be found throughout the Gardens, but especially on the archways and trellis
- Waterlilies: Diana’s Bath
- Lavender: throughout the Gardens
Dry or Wet?
With a seemingly ever-changing forecast on the horizon this July, our team look to be working in all weathers! The sudden, sweeping changes from dry hot days, followed by wet overcast days, are difficult to navigate with scheduling, so this month may be a little more reactive whilst we help the Gardens cope with soaring temperatures and sudden downpours.
Garden Work and Challenges this July
Replanting in the George Carter Walk
Last month we mentioned that plant choices for the George Carter Walk had been decided and this month we'll begin planting them. As we continue to battle climate uncertainty our focus for this bed is resilience. Aside from not being aesthetically pleasing to have empty borders, it also isn't environmentally friendly to be replacing our planting as often was we have had to with the George Carter Walk over the last few years. Our new plant choices have been selected for their resilience with around two thirds selected by George Carter and the remainder by our Head Gardener, Tony Wiseman. The border will have a focus on diversity, as more diversity = more resilience.
The Big Removal
In December 2015 our team and a handful of volunteers from the wider staff undertook the almighty task of planting 12,500 Jewel of Spring Tulips in the Italian Garden. This summer they were taken out.
It wasn't an easy decision, the annual spring display of thousands of yellow tulips was of course spectacular but, as with the George Carter Walk, they were not surviving the changes in climate very well. Moreover, a display made with a singular plant variety means that if for any reason the display does not bloom to its full potential, be it weather related, caused by issues with the soil or other factors, the entire display suffers, and 12,500 tulips is a big display to take this gamble on.
We'll be planting approximately 400 more roses (Rosa Surrey) to the Italian Garden beds this winter ready for a summer display, and keeping their height relatively short. This is to allow the plants to focus their energy on creating flowers, rather than gaining height. Tulips will still feature in the outer beds in spring, but in smaller numbers for the time being, with a variety of home-grown annuals being used to add colour to the display, without limiting air flow.
Hedges and Maintenance
As the summer progresses, our team will be cycling between cutting the box hedging, weeding and dead-heading. Maintenance work really ramps up this time of year as everything grows so quickly. You'll be likely to see us edging more often to keep up with the grass and ensure the Gardens are always looking their best!
The standard roses ‘MacMillan Nurse’ are now past their full bloom, and it's been noticeable that a number haven’t survived the vagaries of the winter weather and we will be replacing fourteen of them once new stock becomes available from our suppliers.