We’re not quite sure whether spring is here or not in the Walled Garden. One moment the crocus flowers are open wide, basking in the sunshine and covered in honey bees, and the next they’re closed shut sheltering from snow and bitter winds. Come rain or shine we’ve been busy getting everything ready for the growing season ahead. The biggest development this year is our new cherry orchard; 52 trees, 5 different varieties, all planted up waiting for some warmth the get them growing. We deliberately planted larger 5-year-old trees so that we can benefit from their lovely spring flowers straight away and with any luck we should get some fruit this summer as well, so look out for a new cherry gin liqueur later in the year! We’ve added another 98 apple trees to our step-over posts giving us 10 more Scottish varieties lining the perimeter path around the garden.
The cut flower beds are set to look better than ever with the addition of 40 scented roses and we’ll be planting many more perennial plants as soon as the soil has dried out a little! Please do get in contact with us if you would like a list of all the cut flowers we grow and when they’re available.
Seed sowing is in full force in the potting shed, giving us a little respite from the cold weather. We all love checking the greenhouses every morning to see what has germinated over-night. Almost every inch of the heated greenhouse is full of healthy young plants soon to be hardened off and planted in out in the garden. I’d liked to have sown the first succession of vegetables direct into the beds by now, but there is little point sowing into cold wet soil so we just have to accept the season will be a little late this year.
We’re trying to fill the harvesting gap this year by growing micro-greens. Micro-greens are the seedlings of vegetables and herbs that have the most sweet and intense flavour. At the request of our head chef, we’re experimenting with coriander, peas, rocket, perilla, cress and beetroot. Our first crop has been a great success. Watch this space for a blog post all about how to grow your own micro-greens later in the year.
If you’ve visited in the last few days you may have noticed some strange, spikey new plants in the lavender bed. They’re actually a type of citrus, Poncirus trifoliata, that should produce small fruit and give height and structure to the centre of the garden.
Lots of work has been done to enrich the natural play area, we’ve added stepping-stumps, a barefoot path, lots of fruit trees, giant black-boards and even put a roof on-top of the bug-hotel! And there’s plenty more to do with budding little gardeners over the Easter holidays, we have a baby-animal themed nature trail around the garden, just ask in the shop for more details. If you are a regular visitor don’t forget ‘Friends of the Walled Garden’ membership could save money on garden admission and gives you a discount in the shop and café.
Despite the changing weather, the huge old apricot trees on the south wall have started flowering, as reliable as ever. Very soon the plums will bloom, followed by the apples and finally the pear trees. If you’ve not visited the Walled Garden during the spring before I would urge you to do so, the fruit blossom really is spectacular and we’ve been busy planting many thousands of spring bulbs to add to the display. And there’s plenty happening in the garden during April, we’re starting to fill up the vegetable and cut flower beds, our daffodils and tulips will be a riot of colour very soon, and we have a selection of lovely spring plants and cut flowers for sale at the shop. So there’s plenty to do and see in the walled garden this spring – plus we have been selected as one of Jules Hudson’s top 5 gardens to visit in Britain so definitely worth a look.
That’s all for now, Ed.