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3 JAN

Post Christmas Plans

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2019 has been and gone and we are currently languishing in the post-Christmas / new year limbo before diving into 2020. I feel that the pressure is always on at the end of the year to finish projects and have everything ready for the new year, but in reality our target date for completing out of season projects is Saint Patricks day so there is no let up in January. I’m really looking forward to completing a few of the projects that we have going on. In particular it will be fantastic to see the Carnivorous Courtyard completed and planted up. I believe it will be a star attraction for our younger visitors.

Other projects that we plan to complete in the coming weeks include an extension to the Seven Sisters, azalea and rhododendron planting through the Belgian Beds and Castle Banks, new stone edging in the Poison Garden, further extension of our orchard and fruit beds and a new wooden walkway in the Fern Garden. There are also a couple of surprises in the pipeline so watch this space!

With the new year comes new arrivals. The snowdrops on the front avenue are starting to emerge and a couple of early varieties are in flower in the new winter borders. It’s always one of the first real signs of spring for me. The daffodil avenue is a little late this year, but there are a few already out and I expect it will be in full flower by February. It’s always nice to get the unexpected sight of more than 40,000 daffodils in full bloom so early in the year. I’m looking forward to seeing all our newly planted bulbs emerging over the coming months.

The new Winter Borders are also looking good now. This is only the start of this project, as we plan to extend the borders and underplant the shrubs with large drifts of spring bulbs, so next year’s display should be even better.

It’s now time for pruning and tidying the grape vines, fruit trees and bushes as well as ornamentals. Our apple orchard will be getting some formative pruning next week. While doing this we will be firming up the roots of young trees and plants that may have been loosened by the high winds and wet conditions. It is extremely important, and you should check your own gardens for this too.

It has been a very mild winter so far but I’m always aware of the chance of a sudden change. I believe we could still be in for a cold snap at some point and we have the fleece and straw ready to protect the less hardy plants should this happen. Regardless of the weather, the grounds and gardens really look beautiful at this time of year, especially the lake walk. We are very lucky to have such a diverse estate on our doorstep, and the season tickets are a bargain for locals who wish to make it a regular visit. The work never stops here in the gardens. We all love the hustle and bustle, and we are lucky to have a fantastic team working here who want to achieve the very best that they can. I hope to see you in the gardens in 2020. Adam

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