Moving into March and Magnolias

Moving into March and Magnolias

As we move into March, we can see that spring has arrived here in the gardens. In every corner there are pockets of crocus, narcissus and an array of other spring bulbs bursting into life. We also have a stunning collection of flowering shrubs to accompany them, such as Camellia, Rhododendron and Magnolias. Our Magnolia collection is maturing nicely, and there are many just starting to flower, but the current star is our Magnolia campbellii in front of the Mansion which is a sight to behold. Our specimen Rhododendron arboreum in the Himalayan Valley is also bursting into life and will soon be a mass of red blossoms. It is a tree sized, multi-trunked specimen estimated at around 150 years old, and it alone is worth a trip to see. I love this time of the year in the gardens!

Our Winter Borders are also still looking fantastic. The new Irish heritage daffodil collection that we planted in the Autumn is about to flower for the first time, and I’m excited to see how they perform. They are planted either side of the path and will make a great addition to what is already an impressively colourful range. This garden is only 4 years old and is getting better every year. It’s very satisfying to see a newly designed area start to develop. Hopefully we can continue to improve and expand this and other parts of the gardens in the coming years.

The usual seasonal chaos is upon us as we start to prepare for our traditional start to the season on St. Patricks day. It’s always a challenge to get the grounds and gardens looking their best, and we have a great team who really care about the estate. There is a great deal of cleaning and tidying work that goes unnoticed and I’d like to acknowledge all that hard work.

We are also moving shrubs, mulching beds and paths, pruning roses, undertaking assorted tree work, and planting up new saplings in our woodlands using native home-grown oaks and mixed conifer species. In the kitchen garden we will start planting potatoes as the soil dries out. Sow seeds of bedding plants, tomatoes and peppers and plant out onions, garlic and shallots if not already done. Pollinate peach, nectarine, and apricot trees with a small paint brush as they come into flower. Ours are just starting now. Let’s hope they survive.  Pruning of apples and pears should be finished in the next week or two. We are also in the process of planting out the last of our bare root fruit trees and ornamentals. We are starting off our begonia tubers in the poly tunnel. They provide a mass of summer colour to our tubs and baskets around the entrance and are remarked on every year. This year we have added to our bedding displays at the main entrance area, so there are even more tubs and baskets to plant up and keep watered and fed, but I’m sure it will be worth the effort.

There is so much to see in the grounds and gardens right now. It really is an ever-changing environment and a pleasure to visit. Hopefully see some of you here soon. Adam