Winter crops

There’s plenty of activity in the glasshouses; the last crops of tomatoes and cucumbers have been harvested. Two varieties of kale, winter salads, peppers, romanesco, chard and spinach continue to be harvested. Orientals salads, such as Tatsoi, Mizuna, Mibuna, Green Frills, Red Frills, Turnip Tops, like the cooler months indoors. Herbs, such as Coriander, Chervil, Dill and Parsley, fill a separate bay.

The bays which were home to the summer crops are being cleared; the ground will be rotavated and a generous amount of well-rotted garden compost will be dug into the soil, in preparation for the next crop; it will soon be time to plant the first potatoes.

Pots filled with bulbs, such as Narcissus ‘Sir Winston Churchill’, ‘Cheerfulness’, ‘Paper whites’ and Hyacinth varieties, will be used in the months to come to brighten up areas indoors and outdoors.

In the vegetable patch outside, ongoing harvesting of winter cabbage, red cabbage, sprouts, beetroot, Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, leeks, parsnips, turnips and spring onions is taking place.

Colour displays

Iridescent autumnal colours continue to light up all areas of the gardens on these shorter days as deciduous trees and shrubs shed their leaves to enter the dormant stage for the winter months.

Against the wall of the Cookery School, the beautiful yellow winter flowering jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is in full bloom, and beneath it, Mahonia (Mahonia japonica) is displaying its architectural yellow blooms.

In Lydia's Garden, the fragrant Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ is in flower, together with a long flowering and resilient Arbutilon, adding colour against the backdrop of the by now golden beech hedge.

On entering the Old Pleasure Garden, the remaining autumnal leaves and the brown peeling tree trunk of the Paper Bark Maple (Acer griseum) provides wonderful winter colour. The birds are enjoying the amazing strawberry-like fruit of the Cornus capitata (Evergreen Dogwood).

Tidying of the Herbaceous borders is ongoing; splitting of perennials will be carried out now so as to have the least amount of disturbance to the beds in the spring; tulip and daffodil bulbs have been planted; different varieties of ornamental grasses provide winter structure and colour.

The bulbs are on their way!

In the Ornamental Fruit Garden the leaves are being cleared and composted. This is worthwhile work so as to enhance the display of early bulbs; some are already showing their foliage above ground. The birds continue to enjoy the red and yellow fruit on both crab apple trees.

Red Rose hips and Myrtle berries are in abundance in this garden, seasonal colour at this time of year and on the doorstep of the cookery school. Under the apple trees, the leaves of the Hellebores are being removed to show off the emerging buds; a single pink hellebore has blossomed to remind us of welcome winter colour to come.

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