News from the gardens for April - May 2017


     After some really cracking warm and sunny spring days, it is hard not to get too carried away with thoughts of mid-summer, lots of sunshine and lots of produce, picnics and barbecues! Alas, we are not there yet and we still have much sowing, planting and preparation to do before then. Still, we have the daily chorus of birdsong to enjoy at this time of year and the lushness of the early season foliage. 

     Quick growing plants and crops that are already established are starting to yield. Rhubarb, asparagus, chard, spinach, radishes and salad leaves are growing inside the polytunnels and outside in the plots. We continue to sow as conditions allow. Sown into seed plugs and trays, the young plants are ‘pricked out’ and ‘potted on’ or planted in soil after they establish and reveal their ‘true’ leaves and show signs of a good root structure. We still have to be mindful of the potential for late frosts, though.

     In the borders, attention is given to emerging plants, roses and climbers that will need to be trained or tied up against walls or by using supports. Weeding needs to be regularly carried out to reduce competition with your plants. Deadhead spent bulb flowers but leave the foliage whilst it is still green.

     Lawns will benefit now from a gentle mowing regime to start with. Bare patches will be encouraged to recover by being prepared and over seeded with a seed mix suitable for the environment. Grass seed will quickly germinate as the soil temperature rises.

     Recently, it was a joy to spend a morning with Fr. Gregory selecting and transplanting some of our oak saplings to a new location to celebrate his seventieth Birthday. The young trees have been planted on an old field boundary in the same avenue as some of our most majestic veteran oaks. All being well, they have a bright three hundred year future ahead of them.


        Matt Noyce

        Head Gardener