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Garden Team Blog

Busy Bees – January 2022

By January 5, 2022August 1st, 2023No Comments

Welcome 2022! It’s exciting to welcome a new gardening season. The garden is starting to wake up from its winter slumber, with signs of new plant life emerging across the garden. Snowdrops and daffodils can be seen emerging in the slopes above the bog garden and entrance beds. Hellebores can be seen on the walled terracing, Quarry Garden and entrance beds. Winter scented shrubs such as DaphneSarcococca (Japanese Box) can be seen behind the walled garden. Last but not least the Camellias – which are so important to Marwood, are starting to flower. If you haven’t visited us at Marwood Hill Garden before you really must be sure to visit our impressive Camellia plantings located across the garden but also within a large glasshouse. It’s a total joy after the long winter! It is also a good reminder of all the exciting colour waiting to spring out in the coming months.

We are so pleased to start our year with the arrival of our new Business Manager, Georgia Taylor and the whole team is looking forward to working with her and seeing the changes she brings to Marwood Hill Gardens this year. Watch this space as Georgia has also agreed to contribute to the head gardener blog in February, who knows I may even be able to convince the gardeners away from the plants to write their own contribution to the blog- wish me luck.

Tree Work

When the bog garden and lower lake were built in the late 1970’s and 80’s the landscape we know and love today was very different. It was much more open. Malcolm Pharaoh (former Head Gardener) recollects the new tree plantings and newly laid out grass avenues resembling a runway. The young trees and shrubs were neatly staked and evenly spaced.

He described the original intention of the garden lakes and garden structures to be laid out like an 18th century landscape painting. In the spirit of historic gardens designers such as Capability Brown and gardens such as Stourhead. It was possible to stand at the top of the bog garden (next to the statue of Jimmy Smart) and gaze down the valley, over the lower lake, viewing the stone bridge, the scented arbour and finally in the distance the folly. With forty years of tree growth the landscape has altered dramatically, and many of the original viewpoints have been lost. It would be impossible to recreate the original view as some trees are truly enormous now. However, it is possible to widen the grassy rides in places to regain some lost views.

As such, we have removed some large imposing evergreen Skimmia hedges from the lower bog garden area. This together with some thinning of trees and shrubs has brought light into a once dappled shaded area.

Extension to the Astilbe bed.

If you haven’t noticed already, we are quite proud of our National Collection of Astilbes at Marwood Hill Gardens so we thought it high time that the current Astilbe beds were expanded. The new area is shaded by a tree, the soil is shallow full of tree roots and was mainly covered with rough grass. It was the ideal opportunity to plant a bed of Astilbes to show off the fact that not all Astilbes need to be grown in damp conditions and that some can tolerate dry and shady conditions. Regardless of their requirements they are always exquisite, and we can’t wait to see them flower again from early June.

The Volunteers

We have a dedicated team of volunteers, working with the team to speedily pot on and propagate in preparation for RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival this July. We hope if you are at the show, you will come and see the display, have a chat and buy some of our beautiful Astilbes. We are lucky to have welcomed three new volunteers to the team this year already and as always if you are interested in volunteering you can email me at

Finally a big thank you to Tony Stone. A long-time volunteer at Marwood, who has been busying himself building ten new plant sales benches, with help from the team. He has also completed the refurbishment of the spiral seat on the Topfield Area.