The weather has been against us for the last couple of weeks and it can sometimes be difficult to find suitable jobs to do in the garden. When it is frosty, we avoid walking on the grass. This is because the frozen cells in each blade of grass get crushed by the weight of a person, leaving ugly black footprints on the lawn when the ground thaws. Last week when it was frosty we started thinning out some of the shrubs in the car park area. To do this we removed approximately one third of the stems by cutting them right down to the base of the plant. These shrubs included Viburnum lantana, Viburnum opulus and Euonymus europaeus.

Above: A frosty Saxifraga cotyledon in the Shrubbery.

Then, over the last couple of days, came the wet weather. Heavy or persistent rain can make the ground very waterlogged. In these conditions we avoid driving our tractor over the grass and jobs that involve digging the soil because you can damage the soil structure and make a muddy mess! The path by the orchard was flooded once again today following the rain. The gardeners have stayed busy though, and have been cutting down some sections of laurel by the Army Hut in Rook Wood. The laurel had grown too big, so every stem was cut right down to the ground. Next spring, the new shoots will grow up and in subsequent years we can start a pruning regime. This will involve removing all stems that are taller than person height and stems that are thicker than your thumb, keeping the laurel under control.

Above: The South Walk path is flooded.

There is always something to do in the garden, no matter what the weather! Merry Christmas and see you in the new year!

Hestercombe Gardens aerial Pawel Borowski DJI 0038

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