April Gardens Blog
This month has seen the garden really start to come alive, with bulbs and blossom at their best, and the herbaceous plantings starting to fill out in the beds.
In the Italian Garden the team have replaced some of the box hedging with Euonymus japonicus ‘Green Spire.’ Unfortunately some of the box has succumbed in places to the dreaded box blight. This fungal disease causes bare patches and die back, so by replacing the box with an alternative we will hopefully eliminate this problem.
We have also been busy re-stocking the upper beds in the Italian Garden, trying to bring them back in line with Tom Stuart-Smith’s original design. This will be a gradual process, but we aim to fill in the gaps in planting as much as possible so that each bed is a beautiful, densely carpeted mass of colour and interesting textures.
The woodland team have been hard at work creating some more stunning perennial meadow schemes in partnership with Professor Nigel Dunnett from the University of Sheffield. His approach to landscape planting takes a more naturalistic view, helps to promote biodiversity (often with a combination of native and non native plants), and has a long season of interest. Thousands of plants went in near the Visitor Centre bridge, so in the next few months look out for Silene chalcedonica, Papaver orientale ‘Beauty of Livermere’ and Lythrum salicifolia, amongst many others!
The Upper Flower Garden is looking particularly lovely at this time of year, with a wide array of tulips, grape hyacinths, imperial fritillaries and primulas adding splashes of colour to the formal beds. You may even catch a waft of fragrance from the hyacinths as you walk by!
Mowing has begun in earnest all across the gardens, using ride on mowers, pedestrian rotary mowers and fly mowers for the banked areas. This will be a weekly task from now on until the end of the season, but makes such a big difference to the overall look of the garden. With the temperatures slowly rising and even the odd sunny day here and there, now might be the perfect time to come and enjoy spring at the gardens for yourself!
Tips for the April garden:
- Plant evergreen trees and shrubs and water regularly if the weather is dry.
- Plant summer flowering bulbs.
- Give grey leaved shrubs such as Santolina, Lavandula and Helichrysum a trim to help keep them bushy.
- Prune early flowering shrubs such as Forsythia and Chaenomeles, pruning flowered shoots back to one or two buds from their base.