Whatever the weather or season you’ll see our gardener, Ian Bryant, out and about keeping our formal gardens, displays and grounds in beautiful blooming order. Twenty years of horticultural experience means his fingers are decidedly green so who better to give you some helpful gardening top tips for spring. Over to you Ian:
Now the days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer there’s no doubt that it’s almost spring! It’s the perfect time to start planning your summer garden, pots or hanging baskets for a vibrant pop of colour and joy throughout the season. Even if I maintain your individual garden you may like to consider a special planter of geraniums, begonias or petunias by the door, herbs on the windowsill or a signature scented rose or plant that evokes memories.
I actually gather seeds from the garden from one year to sow another. Some of your families and friends also give me seeds from plants that they know mean a lot to residents. I grow almost all of my hollyhocks (or bee-discos as I call them) from seed, along with cottage garden favourites like lupins, delphiniums, larkspur, phlox, aquilegias and foxgloves. Many need a year to mature to flowering plants so you need to be patient - unless you buy established plants of course.
Gladioli bulbs and corms need to be planted this month in position for a striking show of colour this summer. Their tall and colourful blooms add texture and excitement to beds, borders or any sunny spot, and they also attract invaluable pollinators.
It’s worth noting that March is the last month that you can plant bare-root roses. They need well-drained and rich soil to ensure that you enjoy the most gorgeous blooms from spring to the end of summer. I choose to prune only old climbing roses on a yearly basis to maintain a good shape and remove any dead wood but a good feed is essential for all the roses.
Our huge Hidcote lavender beds at Newlands have already been cut back to stimulate new growth and the show-stopping display of hundreds upon hundreds of fragrant, bee-friendly flower spikes. That massive haze of blooms never fails to amaze and the scent wafts its way delightfully over the garden. And as you’d expect, our formal borders and box hedging are constantly under my eye and being attended to and replenished - along with all our flowering plants.
So as we head into spring and early summer there’s always something in our gardens to look forward to and enjoy!