Hopefully we’ve turned a corner with both social restrictions and the weather. Trying to garden through winter is always difficult and this past winter has been no exception. Although we haven’t had a particularly bad winter with snow and prolonged cold periods it has been extremely wet. One of the first rules of gardening I was told was “keep off the garden when it’s wet” due to fact you can end up causing more damage than doing good. Also with the majority of South Cliff gardens being on a slope it’s difficult to keep your feet.
One task we have been able to get on with is Prince of Wales gardens. Nick Breckon, one of the south cliff gardeners is doing a NVQ level 3 course. As part of this course Nick has to redesign an area of garden, to include improvements which enhance the area but don’t add to extra maintenance. And all within a set budget. We chose PoW gardens as it was starting to look a little tired with some very old shrubs which were coming to the end of their life. We also wanted to make it more open and inviting from a safety point. Due to the size of the project and taking in environmental needs, we will be doing sections at a time. At the moment a lot of shrubs have been removed and the paths and grass edges redefined. Long term the plan is to replant the borders with shrubs and plants that offer year round interest.
Meanwhile in the rest of the gardens it’s exciting to see Spring finally arrive, looking around everything is just waiting to burst into life. The daffodils have started flowering as have the primroses and crocus. The flowering currant (Ribes) is starting to flower and all the trees are budding up. Now the weather is warming up we can set about Pruning then digging the Rose beds. The Roses get lightly pruned (tipped back) October time to prevent wind rock when the ground is wet over winter, then pruned properly towards end off March when the risk of severe frost lessens. The Rose Garden has had some Mushroom compost added over the winter, so hopefully that will improve the soil quality for the growing season.
It’s great that a contractor has been appointed for the NLHF project and we look forward to working with them.
Chris Harper – Team Leader