Now at the beginning of November, our tearoom and plant sales, as well as the gardens are closed for the year. If you are a season ticket holder you are still welcome to visit but do please be careful when walking around the gardens as paths can be slippery, particularly after all the rain we have had lately!
There are still some wonderful trees to see producing a spectacular display of colour with their leaves turning amazing colours before they fall. Maples (Acer), Sweet Gums (Liquidamber), Ironwood (Parrotia) and even Magnolias get into the act with warm orange and glowing yellows as the sugars in the leaves gradually are taken back into the trees as food and the trees wind down for the year and drop their spent leaves. However what the trees don’t want, gardeners do and the leaves make a wonderful, free additive to soil once they have rotted down. We collect all of them by raking or with a blower and stack it for a year when it is ready to use and is added to the flowerbeds as a mulch.
The gardens may be closed, but this becomes our busiest time of the year when we start our winter work of pruning, strimming, cutting back and planting trees and shrubs. We are also in the process of redeveloping several beds and areas in the garden. Old plants removed, the ground incorporated with manure and compost ready to be replanted with new plants.
You may have read that we suffered a lot of damage last February, with the strong winds at that time, resulting in several lost trees as well as damage to our shelter belt. Our polytunnels were damaged so we haven’t been able to use any of the 3 tunnels this year. However, they are now ready for use and are being filled by our volunteers with plants to give protection from the winter weather. We really do appreciate all the help our volunteers give us and they are a wonderful and cheery crowd. We thank them very much as we welcome our latest recruits, Andrew and Laura to our group, and they are busy pruning and turning our compost bins.
I did mention earlier, the autumn foliage of the trees but perhaps the best and most spectacular is a slow growing fairly rare tree by the name of Oxydendron arboretum. It hails from the Eastern states of America and believe it or not it is related to Heathers. It stands proud at 15 feet tall, and its glowing red leaves shine as a beacon in the autumn sunshine. It holds onto its leaves for a long time, well into December although its white flowers have just finished. Its common name is the “Sorrel tree” a reference to the sour acid taste of the leaves which is similar to the herbaceous plant Sorrel (Rumex). It was planted in 1980 on the bank below the church. It can only tolerate acid soils so is idea for here in the South West.
We are hoping to open earlier next year and celebrate our wonderful displays of snowdrops in February when they are in full bloom cascading down the valley so hopefully February 2023 will see a return to our snowdrop weekends.
The Garden Team.