Gardeners’ Blog – May 2016

After a lot of hard work by many people here, the second phase of the Treetops Adventure Playground will open later this month, which is very exciting news for us and our younger visitors.

The new, tall towers and slides are ready for exploring and the cable bridge between the two towers looks very inviting – we hope you enjoy them!

May continues to be a very busy time for us at the Gardens. After clearing the duck pen of old vegetation, we are looking forward to welcoming our new ducklings and we’ll be sowing the wildflower area around that area to provide colour and interest. We’ll also tidy up lawns, cut the grass regularly and neaten the edges to keep them looking manicured.

This month, the box hedge will be clipped of its shaggy growth so that when the new summer bedding is planted towards the end of May the whole area will look precise and formal.

Visit the Gardens this month and you’ll see beautiful hanging baskets of bright yellow begonias gracing the Pavilion, and the black urns will be decked out with Calibrachoa ‘Can Can Primrose’. You’ll notice a theme of bright yellow and orange in the Terrace bedding – what a great way to brighten up the day!

The Bandstand will be set off with Begonia ‘Non Stop Orange’ and we’ll plants smaller growing begonias around the edge.

If you live in the English Midlands, we don’t recommend that you put out bedding plants until Whit week, when the chance of frost is reduced. You may have noticed that even the end of April was cold and snowy this year!

Weeding will be taking up quite a lot of our time, and our newly appointed horticultural apprentice Zac will discover just how fast everything grows.

The Scarecrow Garden has undergone a transformation, thanks to a lot of hard work by Wyl and Lucie. Lots of areas have changed there, so come and look as the plants grown from seed in the nursery are planted out and seeds are sown directly into the soil.

Incidentally, old wives’ tales suggest that you know when the soil is warm enough for sowing seed when you sit bare-bottomed on the soil and the earth feels warm, not cold and clammy. Please try this at home and not in the Gardens, though!

If you visit us in May, you mustn’t miss the magnificent magnolias in the Rock Garden and a special mention should be made of the Trilliums, Epimediums and Erythroniums that are also in the area.

The Rhododendron and Azalea Walks will be stunning with colour and scent this month but Ceanothus ‘Dark Star’ flowering with the Cistus and Teucrium fruticans on the terrace by the Pavilion will be a sight for sore eyes – a lovely mix of white, silver, dark and light blue.

Over the next few weeks, the glasshouses will be getting some TLC as Wayne and the team undertakes the back-breaking work of spreading four tonnes of new gravel on the centre beds of the Mediterranean House floor.

They’ll be changing the Mediterranean House floral display for the summer, planting gorgeous specimens such as Begonia ‘Dragon Wing Pink’, Petunia ‘Express Blue’ and Osteospermum ‘ Serenity Blue Eye’ to name just a few – expect a dramatic display again in a few weeks’ time!

We will also be busy setting up the Butterfly House ready for opening on Saturday, May 28. We hope to see as many of you there as possible.

If you’re visiting this month, look out for the fantastic Crinum pedunculatum in the subtropical house – it’s the largest bulbous plant in the world – and the spectacular giant prickly pear in the Arid House (Opuntia elatior).