Gardeners’ Blog – August 2016

First and foremost, we’re delighted to reveal that we now have National Collection status for our Cyclamens. Our thanks to everyone involved, from trustee, to volunteer.

Alpine House, generously donated by Hartley Botanics, has arrived and been erected in the Alpine Yard – just in time to showcase these wonderful plants. We’ll now be busy filling up the beds with sand ready to plunge some pots in! Hopefully, there will be a colourful changing display of cyclamen and alpines available for all to enjoy throughout the year.

Both the indoor and outdoor teams will be busy selecting and ordering bulbs for next year’s spring bulb displays. Daffodils, tulips and hyacinths will be ordered in August and planted in pots and borders during October. The indoor team is busy filling cells trays with compost ready for our winter bedding plant delivery. 3500 small plug plants will be potted up this month and grown on in the nursery until planting out in late September. In addition, Butterfly House will be stocked with 100 pupae every week to keep it full of gorgeous butterflies until the first week of September.

Autumn appears to be coming quickly, with some leaves changing already. We’ll still be weeding the Gardens, and it seems as though there could soon be leaves everywhere, so we’ll be working to keep everywhere looking tidy.

You can expect to hear the sound of hedge cutters whenever you visit! Our beech hedges have kept us busy hedge cutting, and can be cut back twice a year: in midsummer and when dormant in the winter. If you have the time, conifer hedges should be cut back little and often as they rarely respond well to heavy pruning – especially if you go back into old wood. The exception to this rule is the Yew (Taxus).

We’re currently choosing next year’s bedding schemes and bulbs for planting in the autumn, which will make for a colourful spring display – giving us the chance to sit down and recharge our batteries!

At this time of year some of our favourite plants around the Gardens are the hydrangeas, in particular, the Hydrangea aspera, with its furry almost velvet-like leaves and huge number of flowers. Wayne’s favourite plant for the month are the bananas in the Tropical House (Musa x paradisiaca ‘Dwarf Cavendish’). These are named after William Cavendish, the 6th Duke of Cavendish of Chatsworth House in 1834. Joseph Paxton, his Head Gardener cultivated them in the world’s biggest glasshouse at the time. Bananas have huge paddle-like leaves and pink flowers which turn into the fruits, which grow upwards, as if defying gravity!

The recent hot weather has slowed the growth of the lawns down, so we’re able to cut it less frequently and leave it slightly longer than normal – perfect to sit on when Peppa Pig visits on Wednesday 17 August! We’re also looking forward to the Teddy Bears’ Picnic on Wednesday 24 August – see you there!