March 2018

The extreme cold and bitter east wind of the last few days has left us wondering what permanent damage has been done to some of our more tender plants like Buddleia Colvillii and the abutilons. The Suntense abutilons are one of the joys of our late April and May garden. The plants, in blue and white, will reach 10 and 12 feet in height before dying back after a life of 5-10 years. After a hard winter we lose most of our large ones but seedlings have always come through to reinstate this wonderful feature. Early signs are that the majority will survive and flower again like this one.

Small Iris Reticulata and Histroides are lighting up the rockery as if nothing had happened. To our amazement the crocuses have withstood the onslaught as have the earliest daffodils and remaining aconites. It is a joy to see them all back again.

Part of the development of the garden has been to plant a further 50 shrub roses. These are a mixture of Gallicas, Portland, Hybrid Musk and Species, all thickening some of the existing plantings. Added to the work from last year, we will have renewed all that we need to do to keep a continually healthy show of roses.

To help show them well, we have designed another style of support, which has been made for us by Grant at Gap Products in Kettering.

We are very fortunate that the soil here allows us to grow magnolias and the buds of the earliest flowering ones seem to have escaped damage during last week, so we should start to see them by Easter.

This week’s tasks include feeding the roses and peonies so we are full of hope for the quality of show we will have available when you visit us.

A sad story this winter has been the mortal damage to our magnificent Copper Beech in the drive by one of the winter’s harshest gales. The picture shows it prior to stump grinding.

Finally, a snap of a Red Hibiscus taken in India 10 days ago to remind us that there is warmth to come!

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