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 neighbors, 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.

Volunteers at workWhat to do next

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.

Garden Highlights

Fuchsia

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.

 

 Hesperatha coccinea SunriseCamellia hiemalis Shishi gashira

Camellia hiemalis Shishi gashira                                                                                         Hesperatha coccinea ‘Sunrise’

 

Garden Achievements

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.

Digging over the new Astilbe bedPlanting the Astilbe bed


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.

It’s October and despite the rather wet weather the trees are still putting on a good show. An explosion of colour has erupted from Marwood’s woodland canopy. Flame-like reds and oranges, cooler lemon-yellows vie for attention against the richer, buttery tones. Trees that have been quite indistinguishable during spring and summer suddenly draw attention.

Wow what a busy month!!! This September has been an unusually busy month. Traditionally September would be a quieter time in the garden, when we see fewer visitors, as summer holidays end and the new school year begins. This year has been quite different. Children may have gone back to school, but much to our delight, garden visitors have continued to come to explore Marwood. Which has allowed us to show off the late summer highlights in the garden.

Garden Highlights

The Astilbes may have finished flowering but there is no shortage of colour. Magnificent fiery orange flowering red hot poker (Kniphofia rooperi) tower over the herbaceous beds.

It has been several months since I have sat down and written the Head Gardener’s Blog. That is not to say when lockdown happened Marwood completely stopped, far from it.

Regrettably like other businesses many of our staff were furloughed. At the time of lockdown all the hard work had been done and our plant centre was full of a fantastic range of plants ready for sale and the garden was looking immaculate. After a week of trading the door was duly shut again (mid March). Despite this’ always keen to focus on the positive’ the Marwood Team viewed lockdown as an opportunity. It was the ideal time for us to set up the Online Shop. Boxes were sourced, couriers were chosen, and the Online Shop was developed. Much needed income started to flow into the business.

Take a tour of Marwood Hill Gardens in April 2020

If you go down in the woods today.......

Spring has finally reached the garden. Marwood is now dotted with pink, reds and whites. The early flowering Magnolia, Camellia and Rhododendron are blooming across the garden. The richly perfumed pale pink Magnolia sprengeri. The dark pink cabbage sized flowers of Magnolia campbellii subsp. Mollicomata are looking amazing, contrasting well with the nearby magnolia purple-pink flowered Magnolia ‘Charles Raffill'. Salix gracilistyla 'Mount Aso' is looking resplendent, with its bright red winter shoots above its pink and silver fluffy male catkins (available for sale). Look out for early spring flowering herbaceous perennials such as strikingly blue daisy like Anemone blanda and dark blue flowering Pulmonaria ‘Blue Ensign’.

After four successive storms Atiyah, Brendan, Ciara and Dennis, three large trees have failed in the garden. One large Eucalyptus has fallen into the upper lake, with two other trees coming down in the bog garden and folly area. Many branches and detritus litter the garden. The tree surgeons made clever use of a small boat and a winch to remove the eucalyptus from the top lake and the garden team have been busy clearing fallen branches and logs away. With so many fallen trees, much space has been created for new planting opportunities.

February is here, bringing with it the prospect of lighter evenings, much to the relief of the garden team. We are however not out of the woods yet; the continuing battle with the wet weather which has fully saturated the garden and the threat of frost is still a very real possibility.

Early flowering Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ was the first bulb to emerge throughout the garden followed quickly by snowdrops, Hellebores and most recently Leucojum vernum (Spring snowflake). Early flowering Camellias, Rhododendron nobleanum and R. ‘Christmas Cheer’ have provided splashes of purple, pink, white and red.

My Name is Matthew Brewer, I have recently taken on the role of head gardener at Marwood Hill Gardens.

In all honesty, before last June, I had never heard of this garden but for a chance visit to Marwood whilst holidaying with my family. Upon entering the garden we naturally headed for the tearoom. Halfway through a ginger scone, an impromptu interview with the Garden Manager and my fate was sealed. Before joining Marwood I was working as a woodland Horticulturalist at RHS garden Harlow Carr in Yorkshire, together with a hardy band of volunteers clearing and developing its woodland.