With the leaves having fallen from the trees, the bones of the garden have now been revealed. The bright white bark of the birch and eucalyptus are very striking and many of the smooth-barked magnolias are covered with a wide diversity of lichen in an array of interesting colours, white, grey, orange, blue, green and yellow. Some flowers persist including early flowering Camellias and Rhododendrons which are starting to show, flashes of pink, white and red. The white bell flowers of Leucojum (Spring Snowflake) and early daffodils can also be seen emerging from the woodland floor.
Jobs in the Garden
Marwood Hill Garden has many trees, all of which need to be maintained. A leaf-less garden is a much easier place to assess any future tree problems, enabling us to look for weak branch unions or fungal fruiting bodies are both often signs of future failure. It is also a good time to undertake tree work, being a relatively old garden over 70 years old many trees are starting to compete for space and light, so we are having to take tough decisions as to which trees stay and which trees go.
With the help of volunteers tree work has been carried out in the old quarry area at the top of the valley, an area which has in recent years begun to look dark and oppressive. Many trees have been removed or crown lifted in this area which has allowed more light to flood into this area creating new planting opportunities alongside the existing displays of tree ferns, hellebores and Asiatic poppies.
We have also been working along the southern boundary of the garden cutting back the hazel coppice that forms the hedgerow. This job has been long overdue, the hedgerow located at the top of a steep wooded valley has poor access, so we have had to manually climb into the hedge and manually cut back by hand and chainsaw whereas the neighboring dairy farm on the other side of the fence benefit from tractor and flail attachment. This has allowed lighter and space for the camellia trees also planted in the same area.
A leafless garden has also revealed, the dreaded bramble (blackcurrant), which is running rampant across many areas of the garden, we have spent some time digging these monster plants out of the ground, some plants extending 5 metres or more in length.
Hydrangea pruning continues, this is a mammoth task as we have so many flowering hydrangeas in the garden. Most are being simply deadheaded, with old growth removed, many of the most vigorous are being cut back quite hard.
Tips for your Garden
- Continue to cut back herbaceous borders
- Division of south African bulbs such as Crocosmias and Albuca, these plants can be susceptible to winter frost and need to be moved in under glass to protect against frost
- Last minute striming in advance of spring bulb emergence
- Removing brambles
- Pruning deciduous trees
- Formative pruning roses any time from now until March.
Plant of the month: Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’
This AGM winning Daffodil is one of the earliest to flower in the garden. Its bright yellow flowers begin appearing in our tearoom lawn from early December which brightens up the depths of winter at a time when few plants are in flower.