Head Gardener's Notes
Our Gardens in November: Blooms and Maintenance
1st of Nov, 2022
Ordinarily, we wouldn't expect to report on what's in bloom around the gardens at this time of year but, as mentioned below, there is so much colour still to be seen around the gardens, including blooms on almost all of the roses. Other plants currently in flower include:
George Carter Walk: buddleia, erigeron
Blue & Yellow Border: salvia, echinops, rudbeckia, hypericum
Jubilee Walk: penstemons, dahlias, achillea, rudbeckia, calendula, geum, coryopteris, iris, chrysanthemum, astrantria, gypsophila, cosmos, cerinthe, and even a 4' delphinium!
The Acers in the Paved Garden and Church Terrace are holding their leaves well, providing a stunning display through the spectrum of oranges and reds, whilst the leaves on our Gingko Biloba on the South Lawn have now transformed into a gorgeous golden yellow. We are often asked about the unusual position of the Gingko, which is planted very close to the House. It is thought that it was such a rare plant when it was introduced, that whoever planted it did not realise how big it would become!
As we are increasingly experiencing unusual weather, it is unsurprising that seasonal extremes are having an impact in the Gardens. It seems that many plants went into stasis during this year's heatwave and are now enjoying more modest temperatures with much later than normal blooms, or a second flush. Almost all of the roses in the gardens are currently in bloom, including those we would normally expect to have just a single flush of blooms, and every garden room still has colour from herbaceous plants in flower. During the first week of this month we have compared our weather data with the same time last year and, whilst we are currently still experiencing double figure temperatures day and night, the daytime temperature this time last year averaged 6 degrees, and the nights saw temperatures around 2 degrees! This is all having a knock-on effect to our schedule, causing us to ignore the calendar and work to the prevalent conditions. This month will therefore see us carrying out many maintenance tasks that would normally be done in October.
Garden Work This November
Pond weed is still flourishing so we will be carrying out clearance in the garden ponds. All weed, once removed, will be left for a few days at the water's edge to allow any aquatic insects caught up in the weed to make their way back into the water.
Grass, Leaves and Weeds
The strong winds at the beginning of the month have brought down many of the deciduous trees' leaves, meaning clearing leaves is high on the agenda! Due to the mild temperatures the grass and the weeds are all still growing, and our mowing and hoeing routines have not yet eased, whilst we'll also be carrying out autumn grass maintenance work such as aeration and scarifying.
We are still working on the annual hedge-cutting of the yew hedges that divide the Garden into its unique 'rooms'. This work will be paused for a week or so to avoid disrupting filming that is currently taking place in the gardens and won't be finished until the end of the month.
The seasonal wind-rock reduction on the roses continues to be delayed due to the majority still being in flower. However this will definitely be carried out by the end of the month to avoid damage to the plants as the weather worsens.
Because of the mild weather we are still taking semi-ripe cuttings. This is an easy way to propagate many herbs, ground-cover and hedging plants, shrubs and trees. Cuttings are selected from the current season’s growth, and should have soft tips and a hard base. Something we propagate regularly here is sage, and we currently have a number of replacement sage cuttings in the greenhouse in readiness for filling any gaps in the Heraldic Garden come the warmer weather.
The Nut Garden
In addition to carrying out repairs to the pergola, using coppiced wood from our Woodland Trail, we will also be sowing lots of grass seed in the Nut Garden. The ground will be prepared first, cleared of any debris and scarified (removing any dead thatch etc), before being sown with hard-wearing grass species that would typically be used in places such as rugby playing fields! The pathways through the Nut Garden need to withstand heavy footfall traffic throughout the year and we hope these tougher grass species will be more resilient.