Head Gardener's Notes

Head Gardener's Notes: Spring 2017

17th of Feb, 2017

I am sure you can see that we have, as usual, been very busy in the garden this winter. It is nice to have had some decent cold weather to help kill off some of the problem pests from in the garden. I remember last season the plague of slugs and snails that decimated the Lupin and Hosta displays, not to mention the grazing of Yew and Hazel by voles. I hope to not have a repeat this year. We have a lovely new path around Diana’s Bath; all part of our ongoing plan to improve the surfaces and access throughout our garden. We are in the early stages of a project to further develop our Woodland and Arboretum. This is not only to make it more accessible for all, but also to provide a varied and interesting experience for all who venture into it. As usual, this will be running alongside our regular garden maintenance. Good things take time so I hope you will forgive any inconvenience caused by diversions or temporary closures (which we will try to avoid as much as possible).


The Lanning Roper Border redevelopment is progressing well. You will see the renewed stone edging that our two senior under gardeners, Stephen and Tony, have worked on through the winter. It really has enhanced the border beautifully, and I look forward to seeing it starting to fill with plants later in the year. There is further information by the border on the ongoing project explaining what we are doing, and why.


We are also looking toward another phase of development within the garden. Our Union Flag Garden had been declining in vigour for a number of years and we are looking at long term solutions to ensuring that there is a suitably fitting display there which befits the garden. We have removed the poor-looking red rose ‘Chilterns’ and will be sowing a red shaded annual flower display there for this season in its place. I hope you like the new iron railing on the viewing mound; it is reassuring to know that no one will now end up rolling down the slope through the ‘Rosy Cushion’.


In autumn 2015 we planted just over 12,500 Tulipa ‘Jewel of Spring’ into the parterre beds of the Italian Garden. We are waiting to see how good the display is this year as unfortunately we have had regular visits from some of our local population of Meles meles. I am sure that although badgers have voracious appetites, there will still be more than a few thousand tulips left for us to enjoy too. 


The start of the spring bulb display is evident on Church Terrace, with the Snowdrops just starting to flower. The Hellebores are also set for a good display on the Terrace as well as in the Restaurant Bed by the Baron’s Hall. The winter flowering shrubs in the Stage Garden are smelling sweet, especially my favourite Chimonanthus praecox, or Wintersweet. It is wonderful to have these reminders that spring is just around the corner and we are all looking forward to the peak of the bulb displays in the Orchard and the Nut Garden


The theme for our activities and events this year is all about The Arts. There are a series of exciting events planned throughout the season for adults and children alike, whether it’s storytelling in the woods or listening to the Edenbridge Town Band on Season Ticket Holders’ Day.


Winter really is our busiest season here in the garden. I hope you enjoy seeing the result of our hard work.


With very best wishes for the season ahead,