Update from the Gardens – May 2024

The work on our wall restoration is well under way and areas of bright new lime mortar visible from First Avenue. Inside the gardens the garden team has been helping prepare the areas of the borders where the works have started as well as keeping up with our season's priority: Mowing!

The garden team have been hard at work keeping on top of the season’s work in the garden.  One of the main tasks at this time of year is keeping the grass under control.  With all the warm but wet weather we have had this month the grass is constantly growing and the weather has not always been conducive to regular mowing.  We have also left some areas long to support wildlife and biodiversity in the garden, these will be slowly whittled away as we move into June.

The flowering plants in the garden are really getting into their stride and there is currently lots to see and admire.  The Kolkwitzia amabalis (Beauty Bush) in the 17th Century garden are looking spectacular at the moment.

Similar to but not to be confused with the Weigelia ‘Florida Variegata’ looking lovely in the Peace Garden.


Enough of pinks, if you are a fan of yellow in summer we have something for you as well.  The Laburnum x watereri and Fremontodendron, also in the Peace Garden, are in full stride.

Jobs for May

  • Mowing!  Which isn’t as simple as just running the mower round.  To smarten up your lawn make sure you trim the edges neatly either with some edging shears (and save your back) or if the edge of your border and lawn isn’t clearly defined after the wet winter and spring, use an edging iron to cut a crisp edge.
  • We have also starting adding some new plants to the garden.  We are adding a ‘Moncote bed’ to the Peace garden.  This was once home to a few large Phormium, but the cold winter in 2022 didn’t suit them.  The lone survivor and its companion Yucca have been joined by other monocotyledonous plants including some cannas, oriental lilies, hemerocallis (day lilies), and some crocosmia.  We will also be refreshing our pot displays once the daffodil foliage has died back.  We want to make sure they have a good display next spring so have to be patient.
  • We will also be continuing to clip back the box hedging, which is alas, under attack from box moth caterpillar.  The twin threats of the caterpillar and box blight means that the days of box hedging in the garden may be numbered.  The ‘man hours’ needed to maintain them may make them impractical.  We are considering various alternatives, but need to make sure they can not only withstand any pests and disease but also the vagaries of our changing climate.  Some promising box alternatives being trialled at RHS Wisely unfortunately succumbed to the cold winter in 2022.  Whichever alternative we choose will need to withstand wet cold winters and hot dry summers.
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