February Gardens Blog
If you’ve been for a stroll around the gardens over the last few weeks you may have seen some dramatic changes, particularly in the Italian Garden and on the East Side.
We’ve cut back nearly all our herbaceous material, removing spent growth to make way for a new flush of life in spring. Already you can start to see bulbs all across the garden start into growth, whether it’s tulips and hyacinths in the Upper Flower Garden, or daffodils, scillas and crocus across other areas of the estate.
It’s been a busy time for pruning in the Italian Garden, with most of the wisteria receiving its winter cut back. We pruned previous shoots from the summer to 2 or 3 buds to help tidy it up, and ensure the flowers wouldn’t be obscured by excessive leafy growth. We’ve also been planting some replacement roses in the rose border. These were bare root and to give them a good start we added mycorrhizal fungi in the form of a root dip, and mulched around them with well rotted horse manure. Hopefully all this pampering will help them grow and flower well this summer!
Splashes of colour can be seen if you head for a stroll in the woodland, with Hellborus niger, Anemone nemorosa and Cyclamen coum all helping to brighten dull winter days. The woodland team have also been busy continuing to mulch various planting areas, including around the beautiful Cornus mas (Cornelian cherry), Hamamelis x intermedia, and the stumpery where you can find plenty of lovely examples of British native ferns.
You may also notice some of the upper flower beds in the Italian Garden have had their box hedging removed. This is because we are hoping to slow down the spread of the dreaded box blight, and replace the hedging in stages with Euonymus japonicus ‘Green Spire.’ This should be resistant to the fungus that causes blight, and will hopefully cope with the exposed conditions we have here at Trentham.
The woodland team have been busy planting some new Cercidiphyllum japonicum for what we hope will be a beautiful display of autumn colour, complete with the scent of caramel. Commonly known as Katsura, this native of China and Japan produces rounded leaves with a heart shaped base that colours up beautifully as temperatures drop. A treat for later this year! As winter slowly comes to an end now however, there’ll be plenty of colour and interest all through the gardens, so keep your eyes peeled!
Tips for the February garden:
- Prune summer flowering shrubs that flower on new wood. Hardy evergreens and climbers such as jasmine and late flowering clematis can also be pruned now.
- Start dahlia tubers into growth, and remove any remaining old stems from herbaceous perennials.
- Firm any newly planted trees and shrubs lifted by frost.