November 2020

There is a special quality to the light in November. A few days ago I was driving home and the trees and hedges were on fire in shades of russet, ochre, lemon, chestnut and coffee. Surely Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like these.

Tomorrow sees us open for winter. The garden and The Vine House Café will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5th November until December 19th and for the first time this year the garden shop will be open.

Outside, we’re hard at work, continuing to restore the Clematis Garden and planting up areas of the Hot Border and Long Border.

Tony has been hard at work digging over some tough areas such as the innulas in the Clematis Garden. They were a useful planting at the time, a good sturdy space filler with yellow daisy-like flowers. But they had got too big for the space and no longer worked.

So out they came: some of the roots were as thick as my wrist. Despite being told to take it a bit of a time, Tony was in full storm trooper mode and did it in an afternoon. And he wonders why his back plays up sometimes!

The Physic Garden and Garden of Contemplation also need work. I noticed the other day how uneven some of the planting had got and of course the dreaded couch grass has got in. Meaning plants need to be lifted, the ground thoroughly dug over, as much couch root as possible removed before putting the plants back.

So there will be no shortage of things to do and that’s before we redesign the Cut Flower Border. Weather permitting, I’m currently digging out the perennials planted there such as Echinacea and Heleniums and replanting them in the Hot Border, bulking up the drifts already there.

On the maintenance side the cold frame lights are getting a through refurbishment which is likely to take up a goodly chunk of the winter. We desperately need to do work on the Vine House and the Propagation House and we hope to get started on that soon.

We hope you’ll come and see how we are getting on, perhaps do a little Christmas shopping, or just spoil yourself with one of the gardening books we are now stocking and finish with coffee and cake at The Vine House.

One final thought for those of you who might be lighting a few fireworks or gathering around a bonfire tomorrow. Do please check bonfires for any hedgehogs who might have mistaken it for a cosy hibernation nest built for their convenience. Hedgehog numbers have fallen catastrophically in recent years and we need to do all we can to try to reverse that trend.

Making a hedgehog house in your garden with a few bricks and a paving slab for a roof might be one thing we can all do. Or simply leave an area a little rougher for hedgehogs to build their own nest.

I vividly remember disturbing such a nest in the Hot Border a few years ago and nearly jumping out of my skin when the leaves moved and a very human grunt of displeasure emanated from under the leaves. I apologised and beat a hasty retreat.

Gardens give us so much throughout the year, not least the chance to be outside in the fresh air. So I hope that you will be able to appreciate the colours of autumn along with the more muted palette of winter with us all at the Walled Garden. And don’t forget you can always reward yourself with a hot chocolate afterwards. Enjoy.



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