One of the most rewarding jobs at this time of year is to tidy up in preparation for the beginning of Spring. The Wild Garden is alive with the first shoots of the coming Spring bulbs. Before these get too far advanced we have taken the opportunity to have a really good tidy up through this part of the garden. As well as the cutting back of the ferns and collecting of fallen leaves we have been busy pruning some of the mature shrubs. This is not only good for the health of the plants, allowing more air and light to reach them, it means that we can make sure the paths are not obstructed by excessive growth. Stuart and the team have been working hard for over a week pruning, cutting back and digging out brambles and the result is a very smart looking Wild Garden all ready to show off in a few weeks when the daffodils start their display.
As well as the regular tidy up we have, this year, also thinned a lot of overcrowded areas of the Wild Garden. In particular we have taken down an understorey, of mostly holly, which was obscuring the view of the Kitchen Garden as you approached it from the Wild Garden. The upper walk through the Wild Garden consists of some rather special trees which were shrouded by this lower level planting. Now, not only can the specimen trees be admired, but the outer Kitchen Garden wall is visible in all it’s glory as you approach from below. Probably the most drastic of the clearances in this area was the felling of an old variegated holly with a vitis climbing up it. This had, over the years, developed something of a jaunty angle and was obscuring the view of both the Manor and the handkerchief tree from the Wild Garden steps. Although it is a shame to lose the vitis the holly wouldn’t have stood for many more years and had the potential to cause some real damage if it fell. The resulting views through the garden to the Manor are worth the sacrifice, however, and in May when the handkerchief tree blooms it will be a stunning vantage point.