‘Winter must be a quiet time of the year for you’ is often the response our gardening team receive when they are asked what they do for a living.
The response is invariably along the lines of ‘well it depends on what type of garden you work in’ because at Houghton Lodge Gardens, the winter months are anything but quiet.
As the gardens now bounce into spring and come to life with colour, the work that was achieved over the winter, during those cold days make it all worth while.
Here’s some of the jobs that were completed:
November and December was spent pruning the climbing and rambling roses of which there are a good few including the American Pillar roses which grow over the arches in the walled garden.
The fruit trees, in particular the apple walk and apple trees were pruned in January and throughout February, the team worked their way through 30 tons of manure as they completed the task of mulching the flower borders and fruit trees.
The mulching has continued into March as well as jobs to get the gardens ready for a summer display. It is the ideal time to split overgrown clumps of perennials and to cut back perennials which have been left with a protective top growth, such as penstemon and hydrangeas. New spring shoots need protecting from slugs and snails as they start to reach for the sun.
For a third year running, we are expecting a dazzling display of tulips at the beginning of April as part of our mini tulip festival. Over 2000 tulip bulbs were planted over the winter months and visitors can expect to see: ‘Maureen’ tulips in the round bed in front of the conservatory plus tulip varieties of: Annie Schindler, Havran, Queen of the night, Peppermint Stick and Coral Satin in the verandah bed in front of the house.
At Houghton Lodge there is never a quiet time!