Seasonal Update Autumn/Winter 2017

Welcome to the first seasonal update from the gardening team at Herstmonceux Castle. We hope this will give you an insight into the ongoing work in the gardens through the year as well as giving you a taste of the gardens and the plants you can enjoy on your visit to the castle.

We certainly made the most of the beautiful, warm and mainly dry autumn. We were able to scarify both of the large, formal lawns in the Elizabethan Garden and were particularly delighted to have completed the whole task in one day. The favourable weather also allowed us to get all the garden hedges cut and some renovated before the cold and wet weather set in. The team were also busy bulb planting and we look forward to seeing a spring display of winter windflowers (Anemone blanda) in the Azalea Garden and Long Border and tulips (Tulipa “Shirley”) in the Elizabethan garden in May. Our plan to compost all the gardens this year was started in the autumn with 9 tons of compost being used to mulch half the gardens before the winter set in- only another 9 tons to complete the task in the spring!

With the arrival of winter the pruning season was upon us and the team spent a mainly enjoyable week rose pruning – some do have particularly nasty thorns. Although most of the roses are found in the Rose garden, the blue Veilchenblau roses (Rosa “Vielchenblau”) are trained along the wall of the North Border in the Elizabethan Garden. If the weather is kind to us over the next couple of days we’ll have completed dividing the herbaceous perennials selected for this season. This process not only promotes the health and vitality of plants which have become over crowded but provides us with additional plants for the gardens and hopefully for the plant stall too.

It was wonderful to see the snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) coming into flower on a walk through our woodlands last week, reminding us that spring is on its way and that it won’t be long until we shall be welcoming visitors to the garden. We hope that by opening earlier this year on 4th March visitors will be able to enjoy the spring bulbs more fully and the earlier flowering plants of the Azalea Garden as well as seeing the rest of the gardens start to burst into life.

We look forward to seeing you in the gardens over the season and are always happy to answer any questions you may have.

As a small team of 4 (2 full time and 2 part time gardeners) we are always grateful of additional help to develop and maintain our lovely gardens. If you think you would like to volunteer with us please contact the Garden Supervisor on 01323 833861 or who will be delighted to talk to you.

Many Thanks

Gardening Team at Herstmonceux Castle