Bressingham Winter Garden report
Every year we drag our head gardener, Jaime Blake, out of his potting shed and ask him to explain himself!
In a year of extreme weather (Snowed in in March, a seemingly endless summer) we were interested know what problems he and his gardening team faced.
Has the the long. Hot summer affected your work in the garden this winter?
Yes, it has, but in a positive way - because the weather has been drier into the autumn which has meant that we've been able to do a lot of our cutting down and clearing away a lot quicker as we've not been trudging around with very heavy loads of wet plant material.
We have a bore hole here so we're able to water even during a drought, so there’s been more material to clear this year with the increased growth - but the fact it’s not all sodden with rainfall is a big plus!
A lot of people will tell you that last year many plants were flowering out of season, the other thing we've experienced is plants growing 18 inches to 2 feet taller than usual.
There's basically a lot more plant material, but better conditions to clear it up!
Have you any new plans for the garden in Spring 2019?
I have a regular re-planting programme that I work on generally, but I'm also hoping to plant out quite a large area of Red hot pokers (Kniphofia) which are the result of my own breeding.
They will be planted in an area open to the public, which will ensure that I look after them properly!
Another plant that I've been working on breeding is Agapanthus, so we'll have a fairly large area of those planted out as well.
We've also been planting out Miscanthus, which is a late flowering grass. This will be the third year they've been planted, which is when everything seems to reach it's best performance.
They've caused a lot of interest with visitors this year when, in theory, interest in those grasses has disappeared!
Are there any new features in this year’s winter garden?
There has been a bit of renewal, which is mainly due to things doing “Too well".
For instance, heathers have grown together and swamped out some other plants - so it's a year of going steady in the winter garden. Most of the foliage has dropped now so the winter garden is looking great (but it does mean more clearance!)
As winter progresses and they get some cold on them the garden will continue to improve.
The same applies to a lot of the Bergenia’s (elephants ears), they need cold weather on them to colour up, as do the conifers. They'll be looking at their best from late January onwards.
Do you have any favourite gardening tips or stories?
Horticulture is such a massive subject we always welcome suggestions and experience from visitors.
By Alastair Baker at 18 Dec 2018, 00:00 AM