November has been a quiet month. The November national lockdown meant that holiday makers and visitors to our gardens all but disappeared, despite this we felt it was important to keep the garden open to provide a place for people to get a bit of fresh air and recreation.
The gardeners have begun the task of cutting back and weeding through the herbaceous borders, this task is carried out every year, but this year a bit of renovation is required. Many of the faster growing plants in borders especially the Clerodendrum, Anemone and Persicaria have grown out of their allotted spaces and are smothering neighbours, these plants are being lifted and removed from the display. Once the beds have been cut back and cleared it will give the gardeners a chance to remove thuggish wildflowers such as Soap wart (Saponaria) a pink wildflower that is taking over. The beds will be generously mulched with compost and fed with hoof and horn. In Spring gaps will be replanted with fresh new planting which will hopefully improve the look and design of the borders.
Leaf clearance has continued and at the time of writing this most of the leaves have fallen and been cleared away. November is an important time to take cuttings such as Camellia and many other evergreen shrubs. The gardeners are also busy splitting and dividing ready for selling next season. The gardeners have also been completing the last mow and grass cut of the year in advance of the emergence of the snowdrops in spring.
For those people who made the journey to the garden, they were not disappointed. November is a very colourful time in the garden, you just need to know where to look. In addition to the fiery leaf colour that can be seen this month, many late flowering plants such as blue flowering Liriope muscari, deep red Salvia confertiflora, pale pink chrysanthemum, coral coloured Hesperatha coccinea ‘Sunrise’ and red flowering fuchsias provided splashes of colour across the garden. In the herbaceous borders bright yellow Jasminum nudiflorum together with bright pink Guernsey lily made a striking combination. Despite entering dormancy, a number of Astilbes such a ‘Rose of Ciramon, Astilbe ‘Beauty of Ernst’, Astilbe ‘Isa Hall’ and Astilbe ‘Inshriach Pink’ still looked good, these Astilbes have highly ornamental leaves and glossy foliage in shades of bronze, red and pink tinged green foliage. In the Camellia house early flowering Camellia hiemalis ‘Sishi-gashira’ is currently in flower and in the garden, Rhododendron nobleanum is starting to come into flower.
Malcolm together with the help of garden staff and volunteers has finished the Astilbe bed renovation. Each year one of the four Astilbe beds, is renovated. All the plants are removed, the bed weeded of bind weed and other weeds, compost is dug in and the bed is replanted with newly propagated plants.
One of the main paths leading up to top field which 5 years ago was densely planted with blue flowering hydrangea cultivars has all but disappeared, the hydrangeas fast rate of growth closing the path between them. Teams of volunteers and staff have hard pruning these plants back, which has revealed many previously hidden views down the valley.
Tips for your Garden
- continue to prune back summer flowering shrubs such as Hydrangea and Deutzia.
- planting up spring bulb displays
- after cutting back herbaceous borders begin mulching beds.
- consider winter protection of frost tender plants with the use of horticulture fleece. Plants such as Tree ferns and ornamental Bananas with only one growth point need to be kept dry and frost free. Tender plants in pots should be lifted and brought into a conservatory or glasshouse to overwinter.
Plant of the month: Aster trifoliatus subsp. ageratoides ‘Ezo Murasaki’
This aster is one of the latest flowering herbaceous perennials in the garden, it flowers in the garden through November and into early December, located along the raised beds that lead from the entrance kiosk to the walled garden nursery. It has a low mounded habit covered with large, vivid purple-violet flowers punctuated with prominent golden-yellow stems, standing out more in the low winter light. It is a source of nectar for bees before winter sets in. it can be seen. These plants will be available from next spring on our online shop.