Our Garden manager Rose, tells us about the garden in December…
As l write this, daytime temperatures have dropped sharply, the pots outside the greenhouse are frozen solid and the last of the annuals have been scorched by frost.At last l have managed to collect some viable seed from the Nicotiana tabacum before removing them from the bed next to the Magnolia grandiflora and we have given the magnolia a careful but comprehensive prune to limit the abundant growth which constantly threatens to obscure the window above.
On the fruit wall we now have a fan trained apricot “Moor Park”, thanks to a generous grant from the Friends, and have planted 4 rows of broken-coloured tulips in the long bed in front of the wall. The wall itself will protect the 3 fruit trees now planted against it, by slowly releasing stored heat during the night, but we will still need to protect the blossom with fleece when late frosts are expected.
Richard Marsh has now completed his renovation and repainting of the winter obelisk and it has been re-sited and secured on the main lawn just in time for the winter solstice. The Obelisks or more properly Heliotropes, were built to GW’s exact specifications (letter XLIV) to mark the setting of the sun in mid-winter and mid-summer. They add a great deal of charm and elegance to the views from the house and are a quirky talking point for visitors.
In the Six Quarters we have completely cleared the South Rose Quarter and heeled in the roses in the Cutting Plots, having first washed their roots to ensure that they are free of the bindweed that has always been such a problem in this area. The bed will now be regularly dug over (repeatedly!) to eliminate any remaining bindweed as it starts into growth and then replanted in April. In the SW Quarter the new Phlomis fruticosa are trying to flower and the otherwise rather bare aspect belies the vast
number of snowdrop and white crocus bulbs waiting under the surface for their time to shine. We also have fine examples
of both Helleborus viridis, just appearing above the surface and Heleborus foetidus beginning to come into flower. GW
collected examples of the green hellebore from the wild and recorded the it growing:
” …in the deep stony lane on the left hand just before the turning to Norton Farm, and at the top of middle Dorton
under the hedge…”
The next bed to be redesigned will be the NW Autumn Quarter, which will showcase some of our taller growing annuals and perennials including plenty of hollyhocks which have become synonymous with this garden, alongside the Cardoons perennial sweet peas and Giant Reed.
In the Kitchen Garden new beds have been dug and manured to accommodate the increased requirements of the new cafe
and we have taken delivery of some splendid chestnut hop poles to grow local hop varieties. Thanks to Josh for his help raising the enormous poles into position.
It won’t be long before the snowdrops are up and the whole cycle begins again. Wishing you all the very best for the festive season and the new year, to come. I look forward to welcoming you back to the garden once the year has turned and we move back into the light.