Well the last week here at Harlow Carr has been rather a wet one. Much of the site is waterlogged, but we have been quite lucky in that most of the rain has fallen during the night, the days have been quite sunny and warmish, the first snowdrops are showing their heads and many of the hamamelis are well and truly out, releasing there cheerful scent across the garden.
In the less boggy areas of the garden we have begun the task of the annual spring clean, a little earlier than normal as we will need all hands on deck in the next few weeks getting the new vegetable garden up and running, and don’t wish to fall behind in our usual tasks.
Normally we tend to leave the cutting back of the beds a little later, just clearing areas as they begin to loose structure and form, this then allows perfect habitats for all the beneficial insects to overwinter, with this in mind we have created areas neatly at the back of borders or under trees in various places where some of the debris can be stored until the insects come out of hiding in the spring.
As well as the clearing away of herbaceous materials we have begun the task of pruning, starting with the Buddlijas. There are many different techniques applied to pruning buddlijas and they are very forgiving plants responding well to the severest of treatment. I think it really depends on the situation that a specimen is growing, ours are in a spot where we want them to act as screen for the next year or so until the area is redeveloped, so with this in mind we have been very gentle with the pruning just removing any dead or damaged growth and tipping back all remanding growth, removing faded flowers and cutting back to a good strong set of buds.
Other tasks we have been this week when unable to get on the beds due to the wet, is the edging of lawns and hard surfaces, To me this is one of the easiest ways to quickly spruce up an area, a nice clean crisp lawn and path edge can hide a multitude of sins. So, if you only have half an hour in the garden this weekend set to the edging and the garden will look great for a couple more weeks.
Thanks for reading.
Russell Watkins, Gardens East, Harlow Carr.