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Mike's Blog - 5th March 2021

Spring is in the Air!

We seem to have put the really cold and snowy spell behind us now and had a treat last weekend with that glorious sun. Spring is certainly showing its face in the garden and buds look to be breaking already.

We have had a busy February, spending a lot of time in the Pinetum.

The collection is doing well but was getting overgrown by the native plants we had planted around it to help shelter the site and nurse the planted trees. We have coppiced the native plants around the planting pens and put made habitat piles with what we have cut off. We have also had to put a gate in there as a path had developed form the park and ride. We suspect just the amount of people wandering around locally looking for new places to walk.

We had a very exciting delivery recently, a collection of Rhododendrons for a specialist nursey in Scotland.

The early and early Spring species will be planted next to the Winter Garden and the rest further down that bank. As these will be planted quite well spaced it will be easy to put a rabbit guard round each plant.

It’s obvious the rabbits are very hungry at the moment, so we have left these two Cordyline plants to their mercy in the hope if they are eating these they are leaving other plants well alone.

We had to move all the tulip tubs into the polytunnel as the rabbits were digging those up.

So the polytunnel is now the lockdown for all plants that the rabbits will eat, including all the plants for the Winter Garden project which the Friends are funding. These will be much more difficult to protect from rabbits as there are so many in a large area, but hopefully if we hang on and plant them as late as we can then the rabbits might find something better to eat.

It's been a time for severe pruning too. The beech hedge on the lane had got so big we just couldn’t reach the top, so we have reduced that by at least half of its former self.

Hopefully we will see a good recovery. We took about 5ft off the top of the pleached limes by the greenhouse too. I could do with a similar hair cut.

We have also noticed a huge hole in the garden.

It looks like the outflow from the ponds has sprung a leak, but no idea where all the soil has gone to leave us with such a huge hole. I just hope it’s not the natural spring that feed the ponds further up deciding it want to come out there and miss the woodland garden out!