This Month February 2017 - Tuesday, 31 Jan 2017
My hands feel like a veritable pin cushion as I write this, yesterday I took the old canes out of the Rubus cockburnianus (White-washed Bramble). It is a vicious brute and a job I never ask anyone else to do. Having said that it is a shadow of its former self since a nearby big Beech tree fell a few years ago. The Beech did crush a part of the bramble, it also shaded it and now the area of the bramble shaded by hedge is still growing well whereas the rest in more direct sun is low and sparse, of course that does make it easier to prune but detracts from its beauty. It is quite a striking plant with its white stems, yellow-green leaves and pink flowers but it does need space and best not placed next to a path.
The Cornus with its brilliant red stems adding a great patch of colour in the winter has grown enormously, as they are against tall native hedges I cut it very low at the front but leave more height at the back.
In some areas it is not noticeable that I have pruned after I have finished, due in part to little attention needed but also to, wherever possible, making the cut in a way that it keeps the plants natural shape and also so that these cuts are not visible. I am as usual running to catch up with myself but fingers crossed and energy and weather holding good I should be able to just about be where I want to be by the end of February.
The Snowdrops are taking their time poking their noses out and although give an impression of greatness they will not reach the total ‘wow’ factor until later in the month. The Hellebores and Primroses are showing colour as too are several shrubs such as Sophora, Rubus spectabilis, Daphne Jacqeline Postill and Ribes laurifolium.
The birds are getting much more vocal with the owls at night, the buzzards soaring overhead, the smaller birds twittering in the shrubberies and inspecting nest boxes and the woodpeckers hammering the trees.
The new resident blacksmith, Joel, has settled in and busy creating his special chefs knives. He is also running weekend courses teaching people to make their own knives. For more information visit
In the garden we welcome volunteers to work on their own or alongside the head gardener to pick up tips and for plant identification, we do have many rarely seen plants. Alternatively you may have a more intense course to learn about gardening or a shorter garden tour, for both of these we make a small charge. We are still receiving group bookings for 2017 and are looking forward to welcoming a Japanese garden tour group in the summer. We are happy to welcome as few as one person but as with groups please contact us first to ensure we are open on your preferred day to visit.
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