Preparing for winter – and spring!
The change from summer to autumn comes quickly, doesn’t it? While we’re enjoying some beautiful days, the nip in the air is unmistakable.
For the gardening team, it means adding a few more layers of clothing and bringing out the waterproofs in readiness for the ongoing seasonal task of sweeping and collecting the leaves that shower down from the trees on to the lawns and borders.
We’ll collect hundreds of bags-worth of leaves over the next few weeks, which will be rotted down to make the perfect leaf mould in about 12-24 months. If you haven’t made leaf mould from leaves in your own garden, it’s definitely worth it and it takes minimal effort. Adding leaf mould to your soil enriches it, helps to maintain a crumbly texture and improves water retention.
We’ll also be giving the lawns their final mowing of the year, making sure the grass is healthy and strong to withstand winter.
As we say goodbye to summer, we’ll be removing all the summer bedding from the terrace and car park and will be replacing them with polyanthus and spring bulbs, and we’ll be taking out the cacti and other heat-loving succulents from the terrace and storing them in the nursery until next summer. We’ll also be planting hundreds of hyacinth and narcissi in pots, ready for a bright and colourful spring display in the Mediterranean House.
There’s still plenty of rich colour and texture to enjoy around the Gardens in October. The dahlias are still blooming beautifully on the terrace – and will do until the first of the frosts touches them – while the nerines and cyclamen look stunning on display in the Hartley House in the Alan King Alpine Garden.
You can’t beat acers for autumn leaf colour and we’d encourage you to come and admire the A. palmatum ‘Dissectum’ in the Rock Garden and A. ‘October Glory’ on the main lawn, Liquidambar styraciflua (sweet gum) on the American bank, and the 200-year-old copper beech next to aviary.
The Grass Garden also comes into its own at this time of year, especially in the low autumn light, with its ornamental seed heads and late flowering.
Elsewhere, there’s a lot going on in the Gardens: we’ll start planting up the Urban Garden, so it’ll soon be finished and will hopefully provide anyone with small outdoor spaces with lots of inspiration. We’re also excited to see the restoration start on our beautiful and historic bandstand, which will bring it back to its original 1874 glory. We’ll post photos on our social media platforms, so keep checking Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.
On the colder days, it’s always lovely to warm up in the glasshouses and see what we’re growing in there. And don’t forget a visit to the gift shop, which has a whole host of lovely, botanical-inspired gifts and cards (you can visit the gift shop at any time – you don’t have to be a paying visitor. Do take advantage of that and stock up on some lovely items).
Enjoy October and we’ll see you soon.