Head Gardener's Notes
Our Gardens in March: Blooms and Maintenance
16th of Mar, 2023
In Bloom Now
Snowdrops: Church Terrace
Hellebores: Church Terrace
Daffodils: Church Terrace, Orchard, Nut Garden, Lime Walk & Coronation Walk
Winter Honeysuckle: Stage Garden
Next To Bloom
Pear blossom: Rose Garden, Flag Garden
Magnolias: Magnolia Garden
Garden Work This March
We are starting to see the results of our recent aeration programme, carried out on the larger areas of grass, with the South Lawn (in front of the Baron’s Hall) looking considerably healthier. Our grasswork is picking up now with mowing and edging being regular items on our rota along with, of course, weeding! The daffodils and spring bulbs are looking fabulous, and we’ll be giving them all a liquid feed just to give them a little helping hand. Our hedge trimmers will be serviced in-house this month by a member of our gardening team, ready for box hedge trimming later in the season.
We are still waiting for correct weather conditions (dry and still) to allow us to open up the solid beds at the far end of the Italian Garden, as we have previously done with those nearer the House. We are continuing to work on weed removal in the open beds, and planning preparation requirements in readiness for some further changes we are intending to make later in the year. These will involve moving the ‘Jewel of Spring’ tulip bulbs and some major planting of new roses.
George Carter Walk
Last month we reported that many of the plants in the borders of George Carter Walk, already weakened by the stress of high temperatures in the summer, had suffered further damage following the dramatically low temperatures and sustained freeze this winter. A few more cold snaps later, and further assessments now reveal that we may have to replant up to 75% of these mirror borders.
We will be preparing Jubilee Walk ready for mulching by forking over the ground to remove perennial weeds – this also helps the mulch to integrate with the soil. Mulching helps to improve the soil, suppress weeds, and retain moisture.
Golden Yew (Taxus baccata fastigiata ‘Aurea’)
Between the Demi-Lune pond and Diana’s Bath there runs an avenue of domed yew topiary, and the Magnolia Garden is circled by tall yew pillars. Differing from the mile of yew hedges running throughout the gardens, this topiary is all Golden Yew, a tightly branched variety with yellow-green foliage on which the new growth gives a distinctive golden appearance. We always prune this topiary once the cutting of the main yew hedges is completed and this month we will be pruning the domes and pillars to keep their shape tight. We’ll also be taking approximately 6” off the top of the pillars – this will help promote the new yellow growth.
Climbing roses in the Nut Garden and on frames throughout the gardens will be pruned this month. As with the plants in the George Carter Walk, a number of roses throughout the gardens have suffered from the weather conditions and we may be looking at further replacement planting.
We will be expanding our very successful irrigation system, installed last year, by laying further seep hoses along Jubilee Walk and extending the system into the Blue and Yellow Border.
Behind the scenes there’s a lot of work going on in the greenhouse! Many plants destined for the gardens are being potted on, many into their final pots, including green and purple sage (destined for the Heraldic Garden), delphiniums, geum, salvia, thyme and rosemary. A number of herbs, micro-herbs and vegetables are being grown from seed for use by our in-house catering team: coriander, chives, chilli peppers, basil, dill, beetroot, spinach, cress and sorrel. We also have a collection of orchids which are displayed in the House through the winter, and these will soon be divided once they have finished flowering.