We’re already looking to next spring – and beyond

As a gardener, you’re always looking to the next season – and the one beyond that. So, September will see us preparing for spring and summer 2022.

The indoor team will start potting up spring bulbs in the nursery, which will be displayed in the Mediterranean House next spring. If you want to get gorgeous displays, likes ours, plant hyacinths in 13cm half pots, with three bulbs to a pot, each with their noses proud of the compost so they don’t rot.

Daffodils are planted in 18cm pots, seven bulbs to a pot. We plant them in two layers: three in the bottom layer, which is then covered with compost before a second layer of four bulbs is added to give a fuller display per pot. Once potted up, the hyacinths and narcissus will be placed outside in a north facing, dark, covered cold frame until late winter. The cold and dark is needed to initiate good root growth.

Outside, the team will start planting 4,000 winter polyanthus before moving on to planting spring bulbs in our bedding displays.

One thing we can enjoy doing while enjoying a cup of tea and a biscuit is planning and this month the gardening team will be selecting which bedding plants to order for summer 2022 up until into 2023. This is a bigger job than it sounds as we will be ordering between 10,000 and 12,000 plants!

In the more immediate future, we will also be planting new shrubs and perennials around the gardens. It’s a good idea to get them into the ground in September as the weather is cooler and damper, which means they will get off to a good start, and produce a good root system before the winter sets in.

We started cutting the hedges last month and we’ll finish this task in September. Cutting the hedges at this time of year means you only have to cut them once a year and the lines remain crisp for the winter and provide good structure to the garden.

If, like us, you love the majesty of dahlias and want to keep their blooms going for as long as possible, give them a high potassium feed this month to encourage flowering up to the first frosts of autumn.

It won’t be long before we start the hard physical work of clearing up the autumn leaves – we know visitors love to check the progress of the seasons and see which trees will be the first to produce autumnal leaf colour. Could it be the Cercidiphyllum japonicum or candy floss tree? This beauty has heart-shaped leaves in pink, orange and yellow and smells of candy floss or toffee apples. See it in the Rhododendron Garden now.

The gardening team love seeing social media posts of visitors’ trips to the Gardens. If you spot something you love, have a question about a specific plant or just want to highlight your trip, please tag us or post to our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages.

We hope to see you all soon.