April - a time of 'newness'

Happy Belated Easter to all our wonderful garden volunteers, visitors and season ticket holders. At Marwood, we were lucky enough to hear our local church parishioners singing as they passed Marwood Hill Gardens for the Good Friday service. It was really very special to hear the singing across the garden as we worked and was a reminder of the tranquil beauty of the garden.

Easter is often a time of ‘newness’ and that’s certainly the case at Marwood! The volunteer team has continued to grow. As well as our small ‘staff team’ we now have approximately 40 garden volunteers working with us across the gardens, tearoom and admissions team. They really make a positive impact on the garden and have kept it looking at its best this month. We recruited the majority of these volunteers at various stages throughout the lockdown years, which was a particularly vital time to the garden. It’s really wonderful that they have ‘stuck with Marwood’ and shown such commitment, despite all the various social distancing stages. It’s great we can finally work together as a team to bring back a real sense of community!

April is traditionally all about bluebells, tulips, cherry blossom and later flowering camellias and Peonies. This month the Wisteria is now in full bloom, as was almost a month early to flower. The dam area just below the upper lake is looking great, masses of spring bulbs are popping up among the heathers and creeping conifers which are starting to spread and cover the ground. This area was created by a collaboration between Malcolm (retired head Gardener) and me during the lockdown. We are really pleased with the new feel to this area.

Some areas of interest, we have worked on this month include preparation of Mediterranean bed below the tearoom for planting in May. We have lifted several unsuitable plants including Stipa gigantea that is blocking views from the tearoom and lots of Paradise Lilies.

I joined Malcolm on a recent plant buying trip to South Cornwall, visiting three garden nurseries in one day. All three nurseries were specialist and held a wide range of Mediterranean and coastal drought loving plants. We filled Malcolm’s car to the brim with plants. The plants are growing on in the nursery ready for planting out in May. Lots of Cistus, Ceanothus, Lampanthus, mesembryanthemum, Aristea, Osteospernum, Euryops, among others to provide a great blast of colour.

The Marsh area has now been weeded, tidied and planted up as the new home to or Iris ensata (Japanese Water Iris) national collection, this is managed by one of our garden team, Peta. It is waiting to bloom in early July but is already drawing attention from our visitors.  We have been making the most of a glut of woodchip generated from windfall trees across the garden. This has not just been spread across the Marsh Area but also the Astilbe beds and should significantly reduce the frequency of weeding needed in this area. Thank goodness!

Finally, a big thank you to anyone who attended the ‘head gardener’ tour on Easter Friday. This was our busiest tour so far with 45 visitors attending and it was great to share the garden with you and get some positive feedback on our work. We hope to see you again soon!

Have you seen the new fresh look to our Marwood Hill Garden tearoom? This re-opened in April, and is now open Wednesday through to Sunday. Our very talented tearoom team, lead by Sarah and Eleanor created also sorts of Easter delights. Having sampled a few of the cakes myself, I can confirm they are delicious, and it really is worth a visit.

We hope you have the opportunity to visit us soon or if not, don’t forget you can purchase plants through our website.