This week has been quite a mark in the gardens calendar, now that we have finished planting all of our tulip bulbs in the flower garden. It is a long process; removing annuals, cutting back and dividing perennials, digging out the ever-present perennial weed and re-planting, before the bulbs can go in. This work also has a bit of fine timing to it; we don’t want to start the process too early, when the autumn displays are still looking good. Despite this, it must be completed before winter really sets in, when the soil can get waterlogged or frozen and becomes impossible to work on. I will never forget the year we had heavy snow in November and in a brief break in the weather had to rake the snow off the beds to complete the planting job.
It is a lot of fun working with the strong colours of tulips, which are always so welcome after the greys and browns of winter. It could be compared to painting a picture, although of course you have to wait six months before you can see the results of your work. In all we have put about 7000 bulbs into the flower garden beds to welcome in the new spring, but the tulip I am most excited about planting is a wild one called Tulipa Sprengeri. This is a beautiful little red tulip, which is one of the last to flower, in early June. It was first discovered in Turkey in the 1890’s when it was collected, but sadly never seen again in the wild again. Populations still exist in gardens where it will self-sow quite freely but because of the size of the bulb and the depth it grows at in the ground the large machinery used in the commercial bulb world cannot deal with it. This makes it very hard to get hold of and expensive if you can.
One option is seed, and the ones I sowed back in 2011 may be flowering by 2016. This year however, a dear friend of mine gave a talk in Newcastle, about his vegetable growing and in payment was given a large bag of these lovely bulbs. Because he has enjoyed the gardens at Gravetye so much he donated us a bitter mint box stuffed full, and I cannot say how grateful I was. I have found the perfect location for a little clump of them, so one to look out for next year.
You can read Tom's latest article in Country Life 'Winged peas and palatable petals' on our Press Page.
2015 Spring and Summer Special Events
Once again, I am pleased to announce a variety of gardening events at Gravetye that will take place in early 2015. Spring is arguably a time when the Gravetye gardens are at their most breath-taking, and these events coincide with this time of the year, offering the perfect opportunity to see the gardens at their best. I am pleased to be holding three of my ever popular garden tour and lunch events, as well as having a couple of guest garden speakers. I hope you can join me for what promises to be a spring full of exciting events.
Anthony is an accomplished garden designer who specialises in making the best use of the smallest spaces, turning them into beautiful gardens. He will discuss ideas from his book, Great Little Gardens which talks about many of the exciting projects he has worked on, alongside ideas of how you can get the most from your garden at home. He has won awards from The Chelsea Gardeners Guild, The Good Gardeners Guide and The Best 50 Garden Designers, and has written and lectured for the RHS, Inchbald School of Design, Country Homes and Interiors, Mediterranean Garden Society and Harvard University, USA, amongst others.
Richard is Head Gardener at Barnsley House Hotel in the Cotswolds which was the former home of world-famous garden designer, the late Rosemary Verey. Gravetye and Barnsley House hold much in common, both are members of the prestigious Pride of Britain Hotels, and both being old houses with historically important gardens. Join us as Richard explains the history behind this famous garden and how he and his team have managed to preserve the design established by Rosemary, which has become so appealing to so many.
Gravetye Garden Blog
For all those eager to read more regular updates from the garden, then we have good news. Our head gardener Tom and his team are delighted to launch the Gravetye Garden Blog. Packed full of pictures and information on their work at Gravetye - look out for Tom’s plant of the week, as well as posts from exciting contributors.
Click here to subscribe: http://gravetyemanor.wordpress.com/
At the Manor News
Read on to find out about our Christmas preparations, exclusive treats and gift ideas, as well as an exclusive offer for 2015 and our exciting new special events programme…
In the Kitchen News
Head Chef George talks about Christmas goose, surprising winter ingredients from the kitchen garden and his upcoming 2015 special events…