Book Tickets

March’s Spring Garden Update

28th February 2024

March in the garden! Signs of Spring

Lengthening days and stronger light levels are starting to have an impact in the Gardens. You can see the plants beginning to sprout up and it seems as if the Borders are beginning to call time on Winter. If you are visiting the Gardens this month do look out for the Hellebores in the Spring Border and the Narcissi beginning to peep up alongside the Irises.

The star of the show this month however is undoubtedly the Peach Blossom. The scent and colour in the Peach House is sublime and so uplifting when you walk in – it really does remind you that Spring is on the way! The Peach House is unheated and as it is still very early for pollinating insects to be flying in quantity, we need to pollinate the blossom by hand to ensure a good crop later in the summer. This is done by hand (with a trusty blusher blush!) and takes a day to complete. We pollinate several times in the month, and it is a job that’s nice to do on a wetter day!

Still in the Glasshouses, our Vinery is based in the original Victorian Glasshouse built in the 1850’s and as per the tradition set then, the heating is turned on every Valentines Day. After a period of dormancy, the Grape Vines leap into life and the fresh green leaves are another sign of Spring!

The final big clear up pre-season has also been concluded now. All our Borders have been “foamanated” with our amazing chemical free weeding Foamstream Machine, hand weeded between plants, perennials divided and new plants added and all mulched with compost and fed as appropriate. We mulch our Hostas with Strulch which we find very effective at repelling slugs and snails alongside our resident Thrushes.

We also found another use for the Foamstream this month and hope you notice our gleaming Glasshouses roofs which benefitted from a power wash to remove a season of grime! Our Glasshouses are quite old so refurbishment is always an issue for us. Lately the need to diet was highlighted when one of the team (me) found the benches in the Tomato House giving way as they were tying in canes!

I am pleased to say that the dream team of Simon and Mark B came to my rescue and rebuilt the benches in the Tomato House so our visitors will be able to continue to walk under arches of tomatoes come the summer months!

To ensure we have the tomatoes ready – February and March also means LOTS of seed sowing for the Garden Team. We grow the majority of the plants for the Gardens from seed or propagate our own. Seeds we are sowing now undercover include Tomatoes, Chillies, Sweet Peppers, Cucumbers and Aubergines which all need a longer period to ripen. Sweet Peas, hardy perennials, Geraniums and stocks can all be sown now too.

Our Kitchen Garden provides crops for the Castle Kitchen and the Terrace Café as well as demonstrating to our visitors what can be grown locally. This is the month when we start to get the veg beds ready for the new season. Later in the month you will see us preparing the seed beds, getting the supports ready for the beans and peas which will be planted later on and sowing our first early potatoes.

Spring is nearly here – we look forward to welcoming you to the gardens very soon!