Update from the Gardens – February 2024

February is blooming at the gardens, the mild weather and plentiful rainfall has meant the first flush of spring growth is really upon us.

Weather

Mild and very wet!  The kind of weather that suits the garden, if not the gardener.  The plants are bursting into spring growth, and buds are breaking early all over the garden.  The heavy rain fall has meant the ground is quite saturated so we haven’t been able to get onto the borders as much as we would have liked, and we have our fingers crossed for some drier weather as we move into March.  We have some clearing and digging still to do.

Highlights in the Garden this month

The real highlight of the garden this month are definitely the Chaenomeles cathayensis and C. japonica, commonly know as ornamental quince. We have numerous specimens throughout the garden and many glorious colours, ranging from red, through orange and into a lovely coral pink.  We also have a pure white variety which in addition to making handsome shrubs is trained up and onto the outside wall of the cycle gallery.  Along with the white quince we also have a beautiful white camelia.  The blooms are spectacular, but don’t last long in harsh weather some come and see them while you can.  Continuing the white theme, our Osmanthus x burkwoodii is also in bloom, producing a delicious scent.

Our bulb displays also continues.  The snow drops are almost finished, but the Daffodils and Muscari (grape hyacinth) are blooming well.  The Tulips are starting to emerge and alliums are appearing all over the garden.  If you want a beautiful allium which self seeds like mad, you won’t go wrong with Allium siculum, commonly known as the Sicilian honey garlic.  Just be careful what you wish for!  These blooms are likely to be with us in April or May.

Jobs in the Walled Garden in February 

  • The main job this month has been clearing the walls.  Renovation of our Grade II listed walls is due to start this spring and the craftsman will need to access the walls to get the job done.  We have been cutting back our Campsis, Jasmine, Virgina creeper, and grape vines, and trying to win the ongoing fight with the common ivy!
  • We have been pruning our ‘Group 3’ clematis which are the late-summer flowering kind and produce their flowers on new growth.  If you leave all the stems from last year, you tend to have a mass of straggly growth and all your flowers will be at the top of the plant.   We cut the stems back to healthy buds about 30cm from the base.
  • We are also diligently deadheading our winter bedding.  The pots planted up in late autumn still have a lot of colour to give if you deadhead them.  My ‘tea pot’ display included daffodils which are starting to emerge and violas still flowering their socks off.  The wallflowers looked a bit sorry for themselves in January, but the mild weather has encouraged new growth and they are starting to flower.
  • We have given our wisteria in the cottage garden a good prune.  It was cut back very hard last year.  It had ‘eaten’ its previous support, but with the aid of a nice new obelisk it has grown back wonderfully and buds are forming along its growth.  In February you should aim to cut back any side shoots to three buds from the base, to encourage flowers in spring.
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