March – sculpture, herbs and wool

In a bit of a first we opened the garden for the year in early March. It was something of a gamble because, as we all know, the weather in Yorkshire can be a bit, well, pernickety at this time of year.

In truth it has been a bit rainy, but we have had plenty of bright and cold days which are my favourite for early spring. It has brought the crocuses out of the ground and there are lots of other noses poking their way through the earth belonging to tulips, muscari, fritillarias and daffodils to name but a few.

Also the blossom has started to appear on the apricot and cherry trees. This is something that always makes my heart zing just a little bit. Those tiny blossoms making their way out to find their dream pollinator is such a sign of spring and the promise of harvest later in the year.

Yes, spring is heading this way and everyone is working hard to turn the earth over and let nature get on with the job in hand. The Hot Border is the current focus of attention. Alison’s Garden, the Secret Garden, the Long Border and the Foliage Border are all looking fabulous and will soon bulk up as the perennial plantings start to grow.

In areas where we are doing lots of replanting and redesigning such as the White Garden and the Secret Garden, you’ll see lots of annuals going in to fill some of the spaces for the short term.

The polytunnel and the orchid house are full of seed trays full of seedlings that are going to need pricking out very soon. Even the dahlias are thinking about showing a bud or two but they won’t so much as poke their nose outside of the Orchid House until at least late May as a late frost would be their undoing.

To add to this festival of growth we have something new in the garden – a sculpture exhibition. A series of five figurative sculptures by artist Bill Harling are placed around the garden. They appear thoughtful and contemplative and we hope that visitors will enjoy them and perhaps take time out for a little contemplation themselves. I’m going to enjoy watching the plant life around them develop and see how that changes the perception of each piece.

The Orchid House is coming on apace, the middle section is almost finished and the scaffolding will move on to the third and final section. George, our master craftsman, coffee fan and all-round good egg is working through each section, replacing rotten sections of the frame and removing, cleaning and replacing every pane of glass. He is a marvel.

Mind, he does need to get just a teensy bit of a wiggle on as our first course of the year will take place in the centre section on 23rd April. We will be welcoming Meghan Rhodes of Rhodes Roots and Remedies to lead a one-day workshop on spring remedies. Meghan is a qualified herbal medicine practitioner and this will be the first of four workshops looking at seasonal herbs and remedy making.

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