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29 FEB

A Frantic February

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Spring is definitely in the air! The bulbs around the estate are creating some great displays at the moment and there are little splashes of colour around every corner.

It was another very busy month as we prepare for the coming tourist season. We have had a major revamp at the main turnstiles entrance and it’s all starting to come together now. The shop has been extended and we are creating a new courtyard area around the existing Cherry tree. I have moved the path that runs along the river outwards to create a soft curve. This leads into the bridge and allows space on the riverbank for new planting. We are waiting for the ground to dry out to lay new turf and finish the planting in the beds. It will hopefully improve the overall look of the main approach to the castle.

We have also cleared out the overgrown woodland areas adjacent to the path and are in the process of creating a new Woodland Garden. There’s so much still to do but it’s all very exciting and extremely satisfying.

We are continuing with our tidying and mulching jobs around the borders and getting everything ship shape. All of the azalea and rhododendron beds are a priority at the moment as they will be the focus for visitors in the coming months. Fresh bark chippings are being put down on the paths in the fern garden and woodland areas. This is all produced in house from fallen or pruned trees.

There are many seedlings in the glass house now and at this time of year it’s one of my favourite areas. I always get huge satisfaction from watching the seedlings emerging, especially if it’s something rare or unusual. I’m quickly becoming a bit of an obsessive collector of rare trees, and there’s nothing more satisfying than having grown it yourself from seed. The problem is finding space in the gardens for them all!

Jobs for the next few weeks include, pruning your bush roses and feeding, general tidying up and re-edging of beds, moving and dividing herbaceous plants, plant 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. Ours are just coming into flower now.  Pruning of apples and pears should be finished now. 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.

I’m really looking forward to this year. I think that the work which has gone into the gardens over the last few years is starting to pay off and as areas start to mature we can get a better sense of where we are headed. We have built a fantastic team here and it is being reflected in the quality of the grounds and gardens.

I look forward to seeing you in the gardens. Adam

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