The Gardens in Winter

Come along to see what our 14 acres of stunning, RHS partner gardens have on offer in Winter.

Head Gardener James Cross has more details below about his work in the gardens this month:

It’s been another easy winter weather-wise (I think we have got away with it!) which has given us day after day of ideal gardening conditions.

Spring is currently two to three weeks ahead of average which we expected after last winter’s historic warmth. Unless there is a cold winter, and particularly plenty of frosts, many bulbs, trees and plants will flower as early as the year before. Apparently the clock within them is only reset by longer spells of cold, hence February is now more Spring-like.

It is an interesting thing to do, noting each year the date that plants flower both in your own garden and in the countryside and compare them. The Daffodils we all see appearing extra early are generally bred to be strong and to flower earlier and therefore react to early warmth very quickly. A better guide can be Snowdrops and species Narcissus. Early exotic blossom like Cherries and Magnolias are also susceptible to warmer spells and perhaps Blackthorn, Hawthorn and Apple blossom are better markers.

February is a great time to clear the borders and finish pruning. Digging of new borders is good because February is one of the drier months of the year and often the soil will start to dry out again after the wet of Autumn and early Winter. You can apply mulch once the ground is prepared and apply ‘Grow More’ and blood, fish and bone beforehand.

We will use a thick mulch of mushroom compost over the outer garden borders, the inner gardens should be fine, having been mulched last year.

My concern is dry weather in the summer and making sure the ground retains moisture. Last summer was a little dry at times and I suspect this will be drier so we will be prepared!

The snowdrops will look fantastic this month as will the carpets of crocus followed by early daffodils and Narcissus which will peak in March. The gardens will have been cleared and forked and the structure of the gardens can now be enjoyed at their very best.

James Cross
Head Gardener


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