What do gardeners do in the winter? Is what I am often asked as if to say don’t you just pack up and shuffled in to a corner of leaves and hibernate with the rest of the wildlife. I can 100% counter this with it is in fact one of our busiest times of the year.
As soon as those gates close to the public, behind those gates the gardeners get straight into leaf clearing and fleecing our fountains, wrapping up bananas, tree ferns, feeding our lawns and all manner of jobs. But most of all we do much of our planting, planning, repairs to fencing, mulching, plant sourcing and pruning at this time of year so if anything we in fact run out of time and before we know it, its Spring and visitors are back into the garden enjoying it as much as we do, speaking of Spring, anyone notice the wildlife becoming more active and noisy, must be spring soon.
But as for winter it seems the coldest consistent winter for some time which is good as this usually leads to less pest and disease issues but brings a balance to the seasonal changes. Compared to the winter before where it was wet and fairly mild as winter goes, that was not so pleasant, made gardening very tough. But with this good winter we have been able to carry out much of our plans with an example clearing our wilderness of weeds, removing sick trees and generally improving the planting which pleases me and the gardens team forever more to know that we are planting not just for today or tomorrow, but for the next 100 years and beyond which is more important than ever to think long-term, its impacts and for the future of the next generation of the family here.
And one thing that has driven me and the team in gardening is to think way beyond our years, perhaps this was down to my National Trust training or up-bringing in Cornwall surrounded by nature but to know that a certain oak planted will be there helping nature is a satisfying moment. To list just some of the planting which the family were more than happy to see happen we have been planting giant redwoods (a favourite of the family), native oaks, Beech, sweet chestnut, laburnum, hawthorn continuing a long tradition of Robert Bulwer-Lytton’s love of hawthorn in his wilderness and last but not least the Cedar of Lebanon which was a family must to replace the one lost a few years ago. We have even collected seed from our veteran trees and propagated them, so far 50% germination so we are over the moon.
Main areas being planted are the new stag area near the shop which will added much needed entrance impact and the Acer walk now having a true place but lets not forget improvements with the tree planting mentioned, or new pears in the kitchen garden which are trained as cordons or the Blue/gold gardens which are becoming more blue and more golden for true effect with Karin planting 500 yellow mammoth crocus bulbs, which delight us right this minute.
Gardens are always evolving, it is part of it, we work with what works at periods in time and that is a beauty of any historic garden, it evolves over time. But we hope to see you all when we open on the 25th March to see all the hard work that has happened at Knebworth but also not forgetting the carpets of daffodils and hellebores.
But we shall see you from the 25th March, happy gardening.