You may be forgiven for thinking the herbaceous borders at Harlow Carr were at their peak somewhere in midsummer but this is far from true. The flowering season may be well and truly be over but the spectacle goes on. The images below were taken over the last couple of days and show just how beautiful the hidden structures of seed heads and drying stems can be, revealed only now in their dormancy.
This exhibition of skeletal forms will go on well into March next year at which time they will have their annual ‘haircut'! The old ways of ‘putting the garden to bed for winter' are seen practiced in October at which time everything is cut to the ground and the beds left bare for winter. This only deprives oneself of months of pleasure particularly in the coldest periods when everything is bejewelled with ice crystals and even snow if we're lucky! Perhaps even more importantly you are providing habit for overwintering insects as well as a hiding place and feeding ground for hungry birds like this inquisitive robin that followed us around all day egging us on with its chirping to reveal yet more tasty grubby morsels.
Gardeners Tom and Kath have been set the challenge of redesigning and developing a large island bed next to our Main Borders. It will incorporate some seating and will complement the adjacent bed designs. Today we were expanding the bed and improving the soil structure with lots of our own compost. Come and see the progress of their efforts and feel free to ask them what their plans are.
Winter is far from dull, there's still so much to see so visit us if you can particularly on the coldest frostiest days which are best of all.