Gardeners’ Blog – January 2018

Happy New Year to you all, we are all looking forward to the next twelve months.

Firstly, we have to wait for the removal of the light trail, we hope you all managed to see the display, the Fire Garden was awesome.

When the display is out the gardeners will be aerating grass areas, and turning over trodden on soil in the beds to help alleviate compaction, which is bad news for root growth.  Obviously, this is very weather dependent, too wet or frozen you can cause more harm than good.

Once the compacted soil in the beds has been turned over, our homemade compost will be spread, not so much to add nutrient as to add organic matter.  This will help improve soil structure, hopefully encouraging worms and improve drainage.

Tree ties will be checked for space for the next year’s growth, tree labels will be loosened again to give growing space.  If the tree is thriving any tree stakes will be removed, allowing the tree to form its own anchoring roots and encouraging it to stand by itself.  Tree stakes left supporting trees for too long can stop trees developing correctly, they become dependent on the stakes and never develop basal flare which helps them to sway in the wind, not stand rigid.

All winter protection will be examined and made good if necessary.  The snow of December caused some damage to our conifers, the golden conifer to the rear of the Lawn Aviary has lost two large lower boughs and various other conifers have opened up as the weight of the snow has brought the branches down.  If you are quick and knock the snow off, the branches will sometimes bounce back, no harm done.  But, sometimes the branches stay bent.  Snow on shrub beds can be a good thing though as it can act as an insulator, protecting some plants.

If you come to the Gardens, watch out for flowering shrubs, at this time of the year many are scenting the air, especially on still, sunny days.  Our viburnums, lonicera and hamamelis are all strutting their stuff, luckily many are planted by paths so you can see them easily.

It is also great to see new growth, our snowdrops, early daffodils and winter aconites are showing growth, and it is not too late to cut the leaves off your hellebores before the flowers are hidden by them.

We will also be taking a good look at some of our borders.  The grasses in the Grass Garden need splitting and moving away from the paths and some of the plants in the sub-tropical borders on the Terrace need pruning, decisions need to be made.

So make the most of the fine winter weather and see you around.