Spring has sprung, meteorologically at least. Having said that, we have had one of the mildest winters I can remember. I think I have only had to wear my big coat once this winter; it is no wonder the plants and wildlife are getting confused. We have also had our fair share of storms as well; we did have some storm damage to the trees in the gardens, but luckily nothing too serious.
The South Cliff Gardens Team have been very busy this winter. We have spent a lot of time working in our outside areas because of the restoration work, which is taking place in the main gardens and the limited vehicle access. The ‘outside areas’ are the pocket parks within the South Cliff area that do not usually get the attention that they ideally need during the autumn/winter period. It has also kept us [the South Cliff Garden Team] out of the way of PBS, the contractors working on our National Lottery Heritage Funded restoration works.
I have also been looking on with interest at the restoration project and watching it progress. I am no expert in building or engineering so it has been very interesting to observe. I am looking forward to the start of the soft landscaping, which along with the hard works should really start to make a difference to the gardens.
While on one of my curiosity walks through the gardens (it was one of the very windy days we have had recently) I happened to stop for a minute and watch two squirrels chasing each other round and round and up and down a very tall tree. Squirrel 1 had enough and decided to make a jump for it into the next tall tree, unfortunately, as it made the leap, a strong gust of wind blew the branch it was aiming for, leaving nothing for the squirrel to land on. The poor thing fell 30ft and to my surprise, it was fine. It sat on its hind legs for minute, had a good look around to see if anyone had seen it fall (as we all do when we take a trip), then climbed the tree it was originally aiming for. All the while, the chasing squirrel stayed in the first tree looking on wondering what it had done. I suppose there is a moral in that story somewhere!
Looking ahead for the South Cliff Gardens Team this month, with proper spring just around the corner (20th March) we have a super busy period coming up. Some of the tasks we will be doing over the next few weeks are:
- Giving the grass its first cut of the season. We do not cut it too short for the first few cuts because there is still a chance of some wintery weather and cutting it too short could cause patches of frost damage to appear on the lawns.
- Holbeck putting green will need a light scarify to remove the build-up of moss followed by a re-seed to help green up any bare patches ready for the coming season.
- The rose beds need their final prune and then a light dig.
- The flowerbeds need a hoe through and gap up where necessary.
- The rockeries and herbaceous borders need a tidy up before the busy summer period.
Therefore, there is plenty for us, and any of our budding volunteers to do over the next coming weeks. Keep your eye’s pealed for the spring bulbs and wild garlic which are immerging from the undergrowth.