24 Oct Autumn 2019
Another very busy year in the garden started with an excellent show of snowdrops in February and some of the best winter aconites any of us can remember. February and March were so sunny and mild we had encouraging numbers through the gardens and our Potting Shed Cafe was bustling. The new covered area in the Kitchen Garden was perfect for the warm early Spring.
A new garden ‘room’ was created inside the pleached limes. A copse of six Amelanchiers which have been under-planted with over six thousand Scilla siberica which should be a spectacular carpet of piercing blue next April to coincide with the snowy white blossoms of the Amelanchier.
A hot and very dry summer brought its challenges. We lost a few trees and shrubs which were probably already stressed from the previous year. Finally the rain arrived in early October and has not ceased since.
The gardeners have been busy planting more daffodils; a favourite of mine is ‘Thalia’ – multi-flowered in early May, greeny-white and just a foot high; Simple but elegant. More spring crocus, the lilac-blue C. Etruscus Zwanenburg. And many more of the charming Dutch iris have been planted in ‘Adrians Walk’. This part of the garden was named after our old head-gardener Adrian Kidd who sadly passed away in the spring at the ripe old age of 90. He was responsible for, among many other things, planting hundreds of thousands of bulbs in these gardens over his many years here. He started as my wife’s grandfather’s chauffeur and when the first ride-on mower was purchased by the Estate in the 1960s he moved from the Bentley to the John Deere. And from there over the years there is hardly a part of the extensive gardens that hasn’t felt his green fingers. He was still riding his bicycle and pruning the roses well into his eighties. Farewell friend and gardener.