Get past the shortest day of the year and somehow the atmosphere changes and the birds start to sing as the daylight stretches out little by little each day. This winter has been an unusual one weather-wise. We had the warmest November on record and then the warmest December. Before Christmas it seemed as though it rained on a daily basis and everywhere was extremely soggy. After Christmas it started to dry out and recently we had a taste of bitter cold and some snow for a day. Today it is back to rain and the forecast is reaching 14C over the coming weekend. Very strange.
The flowers and trees are confused as we had daffodils in flower on Christmas Day and blossom on some fruit trees. Some birds were beginning to nest and were very active in the dawn chorus. We’re no longer going to guess what the weather is going to do as it does not seem to be following any pattern this year.
But we were thankful for the frost as we were waiting to pot-up our tulips for the spring display – frost helps in the prevention of tulip fire. So we are now potting the remainder of our 29,000 bulb spring display.
Looking forward, we are very excited about a new project to enhance the vegetable and herb garden within the Walled Garden. Marta Deka who is our Walled Garden Supervisor is also a Landscape Architect and over the past 18 months, with input from other team members, has come up with a brilliant design of raised beds, which we will be putting in place during the next few months.
In the Formal Gardens we are splitting and dividing areas of the Great Border – our 130m long herbaceous border – and planning a new border or two.
Throughout the gardens pruning is in progress on the roses and the fan and espalier-trained apple and pear trees.
I hesitate to say we are looking forward to spring. But the way the weather is tracking, we might be going straight into summer!.