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In the garden - March 2023

Introducing a new, regular article to our newsletters. We will looking at what is of interest in our gardens.

As spring finally gathers momentum we are beginning to see green shoots and colour. Without leaves the structures of trees and shrubs are more apparent and add interest not visible later in the year. Bark also draws more attention and none more so than the trio of white birches below the sales terrace. These are Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’, an easy to grow and readily available variety that always looks good. They are, or were, underplanted with purples crocuses and bi-coloured grape hyacinths. However, our pestilential voles seem to have eaten most of these.

The willow tunnel and igloo in the children’s play area have been trimmed and rewoven into bold, tight skeletons using the thinner pliable shoots wound together to reinforce the structure. These will be a forest of green shoots in no time. The bigger stems which are too thick for weaving, or growing in the wrong direction, can be stuck into the ground, about 20-30cm deep, and they will take root and sprout. In the autumn they can be replanted to make new structures. Some of the offcuts have also been used to make attractive woven edges to beds in the productive garden. A word of caution if you decide to copy this idea – do not use young willow for the uprights as it will grow and have to be dug out later.

Another tree which deserves a mention is Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis Rosea’, the winter-flowering cherry, illustrated above. There are a pair of these planted outside the information hut in the bumblebee garden. They flower intermittently from November to March with small pink blossoms. It is never a massive cloud of blossom typical of most flowering cherries, but a continuous smattering of delicate flowers. If they are battered by winter weather, more appear in due course. It is a rewarding and troublefree tree for a small garden.

Also in the bumblebee garden are patches of Cyclamen coum. These hardy spring-flowering cyclamen were grown from seed and are multiplying nicely, adding patches of pink and white amongst the hellebores. Snowdrops are also bulking up and fortunately seem to be immune from rodent attack. More colour is provided by various planted pots around the site, containing spring bulbs and wallflowers. An easy way to add interest and importantly, pollen and nectar for early pollinators. Spring bulbs in pots can be placed in key positions near the house to be appreciated in bloom. It is also easier to spot gaps in the garden at this time, and to slip the bulbs in as the flowers fade.

Visitors to the Nursery may notice the raised beds in the main car park are looking a little bare. This is a temporary state of affairs. These beds were first planted up when the new building was opened in 2011. Since then some plants have perished and others spread beyond their allotted space and a revamp is overdue. The new scheme will be predominantly naturalistic perennial planting. At the far end this will include plants to echo the wildflower meadow and surrounding countryside. Nearest the building the planting will reflect more of Cornwall’s coastal conditions, with plants like agapanthus along some more exotic and tender subjects such as agaves. There will also be seasonal displays.