Houghton Lodge Gardens closed for the season at the end of September following a tremendous 2016. We’ve seen the gardens bloom with every colour throughout the year from the tulips in spring, the wildflower beds in summer and the dazzling dahlias of autumn.
But just because the gardens have closed to the public until April 2017, it doesn’t mean that we sit back and rest! Quite the opposite in fact as we’ve been busy planting and potting for next year.
October was a month of bulbs and the gardening team planted 6750 individual bulbs! Granted some of them were quite small and therefore less labour intensive to plant but it has been a great effort to get them all in.
During November we will continue with blubs, as there are still 1500 tulips to be planted across the three raised beds in the Walled Garden. These will form part of the tulip festival when gardens open in April.
So with all this planting, what is there to look out for in 2017?
In the round bed in front of the conservatory 100 ‘Maureen’ tulip bulbs have been planted. As one of the very last tulips to bloom, the statuesque tulip has gorgeous white egg-shaped flowers.
Along the apple walk we have planted 2000 Puschkina labanotica (Russian Snowdrops) which will produce a carpet of colour in March and April wit their dainty white flowers and blue blush that forms a stripe effect on the petals.
200 Allium sphaerocephalon have been planted in clusters around the pond. The small blackcurrant coloured heads will provide beautiful accents during the summer.
Along the sloping bank in front of the long border around 800 mini Narcissi have been planted including: Narcissus minnow, Narcissus Canaliculatus, Narcissus Pacific coast and Narcissus Tête-à-tête.
In the wedding border, 1000 Ornithogalum magnum have been planted with 2000 Muscari white magic and 100 Camassia leichlinii Alba, all which will create a profusion of dainty white flowers on top of striking green stems.
Within the Veranda bed in front of the house numerous tulips have been planted including: Annie Schindler with soft orange flowers, Havran for its almost black looking petals, Queen of the night with purple-black flowers, Peppermint stick whose striking red outer petals combine with white inner petals to make it resemble an edible treat! Plus Coral satin with beautiful apricot coral blooms and the pretty chionodoxa luciliae.
Surrounding the statue of Mercury, we’ve planted Narcissi ‘Angel Eyes’, Muscari cupido, and Allium Azureu.
We have also planted 400 Camassia Caerulea blubs for their linear shaped flowers, in the meadow directly in front of the long border and partially in front of the wedding border.
Thankfully, this year we have had the use of three bulb planting augers, which are similar to large drills. They are used together with a battery powered hand drill enabling us to plant the larger bulbs a lot quicker than normal and reduced effort and pain for the gardening team.