Gardeners’ Blog – Christmas at the Gardens

It’s the most wonderful time of the year at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

The Magic Lantern Show will be open on many evenings in December and we cannot wait to see them lit up. The characters should look luminous when lit up against a dark background. Click here for further details.

As for work in the Gardens, it continues around the giant grasshoppers, fairies and pandas.

We are still lifting more and more leaves, our compost bays are full. Hopefully we will soon be taking possession of a new leaf suction machine. This will lift the leaves from paths, grass and beds; chop them up and deposit them in the trailer, making life a little easier. The leaves will also compost down faster as the cut edges allow microbes and fungi to attack the leaves quickly. We will be concentrating on removing leaves from low growing ground cover and in particular silver foliaged plants. Wet leaves can cause the foliage to rot, so if nothing else make sure these plants are leaf free.

Watch out for overflows and filters in ponds getting blocked by falling leaves – keep them clear for a stress free time with your ponds.

Check your winter protection around tender plants and water taps, redo as necessary, also check newly planted shrubs in case they have suffered through frost lifting them from the ground.

The second part of the herbaceous border is being cleared out; several existing plants have been split and potted up ready for re use elsewhere. Wonderful new plants for free. This area will be left fallow, over the summer and sprayed as soon as any weed appears so that the soil will be clear. When we were planting the first portion up, there was still weed root visible so we will monitor the situation as to whether we leave the second portion fallow for one year or two. The newly planted bed will be easier to weed whatever happens as the new plants are weed free and they are in distinct, discreet areas.

The very wet area of the Grass Garden is being cleared out, and the construction of more drains continues and hopefully the area will become drier. It won’t be completely dry, but many choice plants can be grown in soil that is wet, or example Rheums, Rodgersias and Astilbes.

There is an area of the American Bank that is being tidied up. An awful lot of Gaultheria shallon is being removed to allow existing shrubs to shine. The grass to the rear of the bed is being removed so that some extra American plants can be added, perhaps some ‘Sumachs’ for even more autumn colour.

That is all for now from the gardeners at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Happy Christmas and see you in the New Year.