Houghton Lodge Gardens open on Easter Sunday for the start of the 2018 season, we thought we would provide a quick update what we have been busy with whilst the gardens have been closed to the public.
Throughout October and November the gardening team completed the bulb planting for the 2018 season, including 2000 English Bluebells in the shrubbery, and hundreds of daffodils in the park area and front drive. A glorious selection of tulips have been planted across the gardens for a spectacular 2018 display. The beds and tubs will feature varieties such as the burnt orange and terracotta of Tulip Jimmy, the deep opulence of Tulip Ronaldo, the subtle scent and fire orange of Ballerina, the dainty blousy white and purple Shirley, and the pretty lilac of Negrita.
The Walled Garden
This year we will be creating a Lavender border round the Wishing Well and will carry out pruning to restore some proportion to the Choisya Ternata at the four corners of the Well path. We have cleared the Well borders of existing plants so that we can re plant during spring from those listed and some new additions, but keeping to the general theme that was originally planned here in 1998, of soft yellow, blue, mauve and white.
The border that runs along the East facing wall in the walled garden (adjacent to the fig tree and raspberries) has also been cleared and mulched ready to be replanted with a selection of Hostas that are on order from Bowden Hostas (selection made by Sophie from their exhibit at Chelsea), in a beautiful design by the gardening team. The old vegetable beds will have colourful displays from the cutting flowers and the annual flower meadows.
Last year we identified most of the existing roses that have been here for many years and have long since lost their names – these now have new labels so our visitors can identify them. For this year, we have chosen some beautiful, old and rare ‘Species Roses’ to ramble up into the trees in the outer garden, as well as to fill a few gaps along the South facing wall in the Walled Garden. We are also planting some ‘Apothecary Roses’ within the Herb Garden.
The routine pruning of the Apples/Pears continues. The espalier Apples and Pears have what is called a ‘spur prune’ which is a method of allowing the fruiting spurs room to fruit uncontested, removal of growth that is dead diseased misplaced etc and to allow new shoots the room to grow. It is the new shoots that will be the new fruiting spurs in the years to come. It also allows this new growth to take over from the tall lengthy spurs that one can see on the top branches of the trees, these can be progressively thinned and removed as the new branches and spurs form.