News from Lowther Castle’s Head Gardener

7th February 2018News

The garden is now showing encouraging signs that the next season is around the corner. Snowdrops are braving the cruellest of winds and rain, hamamelis are flowering in the castle ruin whilst the shoots of daffodils are beginning to show. Winter has thrown all kinds of weather at us so far. Gales, heavy rain, frozen ground and generous amounts of snow have hampered our plans, but progress has been good, and with the prospect of spring and the longer days we can only hope we are blessed with more favourable gardening weather.

We find ourselves reminiscing, looking back to twelve months ago when the courtyard was a busy work site and remembering the challenges we faced. The winter lights on the courtyard hornbeams have been a real feature this season and something to admire when leaving every night – they are also a firm reminder of the hard work by everyone involved in creating this wonderful new space.

Plant of the month
This month’s garden plant choice has to be Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna ‘Purple Stem’ . This glossy leaved evergreen shrub grows in the castle ruin garden. Its dainty sweet smelling white flowers are always a pleasure to see at this time of year. Close by is Helleborus x hybridus ‘Yellow Lady’ – an equally pleasing sight.

Rose Garden update
Our rose garden project is progressing steadily. Work is now complete on the access path which we will use whilst we rebuild the water feature. We now also have the old pond dismantled and ready for rebuilding – we hope to begin work on this shortly. In the meantime work will begin on the irrigation system so that path edging can be installed and planting beds formed. Watch this space for further updates.

Mulch news
While the build of the new Rose garden at the top of our ‘to do’ list, we have recently have been spending a lot of time cutting back and mulching other areas of the garden. The parterre garden and the garden-in-the-ruin have both had their annual cut back now, something we tend to leave as late as possible so that visitors can appreciate the structure of the previous season’s growth. Our new planting beds along the south façade of the castle ruin are almost now ready for planting, which will link the parterre and the garden-in-the-ruin beautifully. As the soil begins to warm, we will be planting large shrubs and climbers such as Cercis Chinensis Shirobana and Rosa laevigata ‘Cooperi’.

And finally…
A big thank you to all of our garden volunteers who come along in all weathers to help us in the garden – your help is very much appreciated. New volunteers are always welcome so please do get in touch if you would like to register to help with projects in the garden this season, contact martin@lowthercastle.org.

Martin Ogle
Head Gardener

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