A Little Bit of Shape & Structure

13 March 2020

The last month has seen, thankfully, several ongoing tasks and projects completed. It has be a long hard process but the metal edging installation has now been completed, with the addition of drainage to the side pathways of the Croquet lawn which is relieving the water retention on these paths. It is beginning to dry out and firm up and final levelling has been completed with the digger. The next stage in this project is to re-turf the edge and then level the ground behind this turf line and seed when ground conditions warm up. The final stage and probably the stage that really shows the curves and sharpness of the edges will be the reinstatement of the paths with a strong woven membrane to help combat those unwanted weeds and topped with a layer of 20mm washed gravel. This process will only be carried out when the re-turfed edging work has been completed. A small add on task before the digger went away was to repair the access path to the middle terrace. Over the winter it had taken a lot of heavy traffic so we have reinstated this path which will be used for running the gravel into the middle terrace in the coming weeks.

Another task that we have been carrying out during the winter months as mentioned before is the  beech hedge replanting on the West Drive This has been completed and as we replanted, we have taken away the material that was creating shade whilst keeping the shape on the canopy which will hopefully give the newly planted hedge the best chance of enjoying its new home. In total a stretch of over 60m has been replanted.

It’s that time of the year where we look at the grounds of Bowhouse. A wildflower meadow was introduced last year on both sides of the entrance which is showing signs of live after this wet winter. We will be introducing some edible and additional wildflowers into these areas in the coming months. A favourite material of ours is the wonderful farmyard manure (FYM) which we use extensively throughout the gardens and outside grounds. The Blackcurrants and hedges have all had a layer of FYM to help not only provide a food source for the plants but also reduce the weed ingress into the areas of planting. The grounds are looking tidy now for the March market which is great. Lesley has given the cut flower bed a spring clean and we are now looking at areas that have over wintered such as the Rose Garden and Secret Garden.

It’s also that time of year where we look at our lawns and this year most will see moss. Moss has been in its element this wet winter but not is all lost. We will be carrying out scarifying, aeration and topdressing with a coarse sand in the coming weeks and during the season so will hopefully pass on some helpful tips to have your whole garden back to a haven for you to enjoy.

A yearly task that is always a gardener’s marmite is that of rose pruning. Martin and Lesley have been going over each rose and giving them a well needed clear out and mulching them after with a heavy layer of FYM. They look great and have now the vigour and room to grow. Love it or hate it, this task needs to be carried out and not rushed. Martin who loves rose pruning and gave us all a tutorial on this wonderful skill has put a quick helpful guide together that will hopefully result in a new love for your roses and get them looking tip top.

Martins quick guide for pruning roses:

  • Before you begin, think of the shape and structure you wish to finish with
  • Look at keeping flexible growth for training to supports
  • Look at what is serving a purpose and what is not for your desired shape
  • Thin-out growth as required to increase air flow through the plant
  • Prune out any material that is dead, diseased or dying
  • Always remember to stand back and view the whole plant at different stages of your pruning
  • Prune out any stems that are crossing or rubbing on other stems
  • If possible or required prune back to second last bud, this will result in stronger and flowering
  • Try and reduce the layers of growth if possible and form as a fan shape
  • Roses will thank you for a nice feed now and then so FYM is ideal
  • Finally stand back and enjoy your work and wait for your rose to put on its show

I hope that helps you in your quest for rose perfection. As always there is plenty to do and enjoy with longer nights and slightly warmer days coming our way. Enjoy and get those gardening tools at the ready if they have not already been out!

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