The arrival of November means our team of gardeners are busy preparing the gardens for the chilly winter months that lie ahead. We’ve been chatting to our Head Gardener Claire to find out what this involves.


1) Digging up the gladioli corms

The sight of peach and scarlett gladioli standing tall on the Great Plat is synonymous with late summer at Hestercombe but it doesn’t happen by chance. The gladioli corms (bulbs) are prone to rotting in wet weather so every spring, new corms are planted to guarantee our summer display of gladioli. In autumn, the gardens team dig up that year’s gladioli corms and sell them in our Plant Centre. If you buy any, you can either plant them out now in a gritty compost or leave them to dry thoroughly and plant them in spring. Claire recommends placing them quite deep in the soil to avoid the need for staking.


2) Looking after our Dutch Garden blooms

In the Dutch Garden, the pretty pelargoniums are taken out of the big urns, re-potted and placed in the greenhouse until the spring to keep them safe from frost.


3) Caring for our cannas

Sunset orange cannas are another staple bloom of the Great Plat during late summer so they need to be looked after well. After the cannas leaves have been blackened by frost (although the last few winters have been so mild, the leaves haven’t gone black), we cut them back, dig up the cannas and store them in the greenhouse during the winter months. We wait until it gets frosty as the cold temperature causes the plant to suck all its sugars back into the roots.


4) Putting the herbaceous borders into hibernation

Come November, the blooms in the Edwardian Garden’s herbaceous borders, including asters, echinops and eryngium have gone over for another year. We cut them back but sometimes like to leave a few seed heads behind.

Hestercombe’s 50 acres of gardens are open every day of the year, except Christmas Day. See our full opening hours and admission prices here.