Spring is upon us at The Grove

Rose pruning

“I enjoy the spring more than the autumn now. One does, I think, as one gets older.” Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room

Not long now to the official start of spring but it looks as though it was well underway some time ago here at The Grove, and we have had good swathes of yellow around the gardens since December.

The fruit trees that were coming into flower in the Walled Garden have thankfully stopped now due to the cold snap, but it is just as well as there are no bees to pollinate them yet.  We have hives nearby but the bees require more warmth to be active in collecting the pollen.

In the Walled Garden we’ve made a start on our new raised vegetable beds that will see the beds at three different heights, which will mean less bending when working the borders and harvesting.

In the Formal Gardens the roses have had a good mulch of manure and are about to be tied into mounds.  We practice a system that works well for most shrub roses.  First take out dead and weak growth and also some of the older growth, but no more than a third as a general rule. Then the remaining stems are arched over, and some are tied onto hazel benders (arched hoops of hazel that we cut from the woods), and other stems are tied to the first arched stems thus making a mound.  Sap goes vertically – if you arch the stems over so that the ends, and as much of the stem, are below the horizontal in a gentle curve, each bud will break (grow) and therefore produce flower.  It also forces growth lower down giving good stems for next year. Some stems will readily do this. Others will not and may just snap – so prune cleanly to a bud.  This method works well when pruning climbing roses too.

We love spring at The Grove, as the buds are bursting with new fresh growth, the birds are singing and there is warmth in the sun!  And this week we had 20 ducks quacking away to each other on the top pond of our Grand Canal water feature in the garden.

What is your favourite season?.