In the garden news
Now that we are at the end of Autumn, and the forests around us are putting on the last of their magnificent display, we are at last ready to start planting our tulips. It has taken us about three weeks to work through the flower garden borders; removing annuals, dividing perennials and planting out for next spring. One of the most important parts of this process is the opportunity to manage perennial weeds, which are inevitable in any garden of a certain age.
We keep careful photographic records of our tulip plantings from previous springs, which are useful to refer to as we plant. The modern gardener can often be seen with a trowel in one hand and a laptop in the other. But development and progress are what we are looking for and this would be impossible, without careful notes on how we want to improve on last year.
The earliest tulips we hope to start flowering at the beginning of April with ‘Candy Prince’ being the centrepiece. This is a lovely lilac bloom with subtle marbling and when combined with apricot beauty should reflect some of the details in our restaurants artwork. Later in April come the triumph tulips, which we plan to use by blending two shades of purple, Atilla and Negreta, combined with the beetroot colour of Havran. Of all the tulips, the single late varieties are by far my favourite. They will bask in the sun throughout May, leading us in to summer as they fade. This year we plan to develop a combination we have used in the past with Blue Aimable, Queen of the night and Dordogne, a remarkable marbled apricot.
Before we are ready to plant we have to divide our clumps of herbaceous perennials. This is important to keep the clumps in the correct proportions and it also lengthens their flowering season. Dividing these clumps always creates spare plants, which we tend to pot up for our charity plant sale. But in recent years we have had good results from experimenting with them in the meadow. Of particular note has been Geranium psylostemon and Persicaria bistorta, which we will run through the orchard to enrich the grasslands under the apple trees.