The gardens at Haddon Hall have opened to the public and it’s been nonstop weeding.
Weeds seem to be growing so fast in the mild weather. So, after starting on the top terraces and working our way down to the bottom of the garden it’s just a case of turning around, going back up to the top and starting back down again.
The wall roses are growing well and they need to be tied onto the wall.
To get the most roses as possible on a limited amount of wall I find that it’s best to train the long stems into fans, arches or twirl them round into spirals.
Because we do not have enough room in our greenhouse, we sow our sweet peas in late February. This year’s seeds got off to a flying start, but unfortunately even so-called professionals have minor disasters.
Ours came in the form of a midnight visit by a mouse which managed to scale the greenhouse shelving and squeeze into the cold frame, nibbling off all but two.
When daffodils finish flowering don’t cut them down too early
After securing the cold frame after this happened we tried again, the mouse managed to finish those off too. We are now on our third sowing and have rigged up an elaborate shelving system hanging from the roof of the greenhouse and all are growing well at the moment and we just hope the mouse isn’t plotting a ‘Mission impossible’ type attack.
Each year I try to add more dahlias to the garden, as they add a splash of extra colour in late summer and autumn, and the last few years they seem to have got better and better. I have planted last year’s dahlia tubers up into big pots of compost and also for the first time planted seedlings from the National Dahlia collection. Cafe au lait and Arabian night have always been a big hit with the visitors and this year I’m trying out BJ beauty, Bishop of Salisbury and Doris Day (just because I like her).
As well as looking after the garden I am also responsible for filling the hall with flowers, creating seasonal displays to reflect what’s in the garden. We have a small cutting garden filled with peonies, roses, foxgloves and lilies too.
To add some extra wow factor to flower displays, you can’t beat sunflowers which look fabulous in vases in the summer.
Quick tip: when daffodils have finished flowering, don’t be tempted to cut them down too early. Dead head them so they aren’t putting any energy into producing seeds and, while the leaves are still green, they are helping to feed the bulbs for next year’s flowering.