Head Gardener's Notes

Head Gardener's Notes: Summer 2017

5th of May, 2017

What an amazing spring we have had; warm sunny days, superb floral displays and a lot of new planting and seed sowing throughout the garden. It has been wonderful, though unusual, to see the bluebells out alongside the daffodils, primroses, cowslips and tulips, not to mention the cherry blossom, pear blossom and the crab apples all out at the same time! For me though, alongside the joy of the warm sunny days that brought us this early and floriferous display, has come a sense of worry too. The garden is dry! That is the big downside of the weather we have had. Our rainfall through winter has been insignificant really and it shows in the exposed soil and in the gravel paths. All is dust and parched, and in some places our lawns’ growth has slowed down and is looking summery already. Then to get such hard late frost hitting all the soft new growth in the garden - it has really been a rollercoaster of ups and downs.


I hope you like our lovely new path around Diana’s Bath. We are going to install some bench seating around the area to give a place to rest and enjoy the sound of the fountain and maybe spot the Kingfisher enjoying a small golden snack from the pond (just as well we keep topping up the fish stocks!).


Our first phase of the Woodland and Arboretum development has been completed with a new route cleared through the trees. The work will be continuing throughout the coming year, 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). There are exciting plans in place for new interpretation, play spaces and ample opportunity for taking part in the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku. Shinrin-yoku is a term that means ‘forest bathing’ or ‘taking in the forest atmosphere’. It is definitely worth doing some research to find out more about this prescribed practice.


We will be digging in our green manure in the Lanning Roper Border soon. After that it will be time to sow another crop which will be a mixture of Tagetes and Calendula, or French and English marigolds. All is looking good for autumn planting.


Once our red annual and cut flower display is sown in the Union Flag Garden we will need to be careful with our watering and weeding to ensure it is successful. This is an intermediary display as we head towards a more in-depth and thorough rejuvenation of the area.


The theme for our activities and events this year is 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.


We do our best to avoid irrigating in the garden. We do not worry about the grass and lawns. They will do what grass has evolved to do; if they die back, they will later green up with enough rainfall. But it is the herbaceous plants and roses that we may have to water this spring. In a time where plants are putting on such massive surges of growth, water is essential. If you do see hoses laying at the ready with sprinklers attached, chances are they are set up for us to turn on early in the morning. If they are running, please avoid moving or playing with them. It takes careful placement and adjustment to avoid watering areas that do not need it.


If you miss any of our key displays, like the Peonies on the Peony Border, then why not join our mailing list. We send messages out to tell everyone what is flowering and looking good at that moment. It is always a pleasure to keep the garden looking good for everyone’s enjoyment so it’s nice to be able to let everyone know when it’s a good time to come and enjoy seeing the results of all our hard work.


Cory Fernmoor (secretly praying for rain, but not too much, just a steady drizzle will do, and only at night from 12.30am–5.30am to avoid scorch and gardening in the wet!)

Head Gardener