This Week in The Garden

11 March 2024
March 2024

The Stour is currently deep and fast flowing after all the rain but ducks are a–dabbling throughout the Gardens. There are several pairs of mallards who seem to have taken upresidence over the past couple of months and who watch us inquisitively from wherethey sit (usually in a patch of sunlight on the grass or on the low wall along CherryWalk).

The Cutting Garden

We have been busy preparing the beds in the Cutting Garden for seed sowing. The soil here is free draining and so even with the amount of rain we have on a dry day had the soil here is still workable. Some seeds can go in now, others we’ll hold back until the longer, slightly warmer days of April. We have been able to sow rows of corncockle, perpetual spinach, flowering carrot, calendula marigolds and phacelia so far. We have also sown a mix of wildflowers and flowering annuals for pollinators along the rope fence at the back of the Cutting Garden which will bloom in June and July. At home we are raising sweet peas, sage, honeywort, fennel, viper’s bugloss, toadflax, wild pansies and hyssop to be planted out as young plants in May.

Self-sown seedlings are already emerging in sheltered spots and we have been carefully transplanting them. Cornflowers, larkspur and love-in-a-mist seedlings tend to come up in great clusters so we’ve been teasing them apart and spreading them out for better effect. The wallflowers are in full bloom around the garden and the alexanders have shot up with dense glossy green foliage and fluffy umbels of lime green looking exotic. We know they spread like weeds but we love them and as long as we keep them in check they look beautiful and dramatic in the right places!

All the roses are now showing strong new growth after their winter prune and we hope they’ll be in full bloom when the gardens re-open (hopefully) in late May.

The snowdrops have now finished and we have been digging up clumps to divide and spread “in the green”. Throughout February they really looked beautiful along Cherry Walk, beneath the pink blossom and punctuated with the yellow daffodils and aconites. The delicate nodding heads of cowslips are popping up in the meadow at the moment through the grass. The new apple trees in the meadow are all in bud and doing well.

Other plants looking at their best right now are bright yellow-green stems of the dogwood (soon to be pruned back to the base to ensure even more, brighter stems next winter) the “stinking” hellebores and euphorbia along the riverside border in the meadow. Both are, we think, underrated and sometimes overlooked, but at this time of the year the vivid, lime green flowers of the hellebore and fresh, uncurling new florets of the euphorbia give a real zing in the shady border. The birds are very active with pairing up and nest-building, we are daily surrounded by amorous pigeons and feisty, scrapping robins! There seem to be many more blackbirds in the garden this spring as well as chaffinches, blue tits and great tits. The swans have been seen several times elegantly swimming upstream (a pair and their year old cygnet) and the cormorant has been a regular visitor over the winter too, often standing proud and flapping his wings like an emblem on a heraldic shield on Assisi Bridge.

The Gardeners


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