by Matt Noyce, Head Gardener at Quarr Abbey
With an abundance of flowers on show and birdsong filling the air, Spring has definitely sprung. There is a buzz of activity across the gardens – from both the wildlife and the gardeners!
Work is still continuing within the walled garden in readiness for the growing season. Seeds that have already been sown are growing well in their pots, plugs and trays. It can be worth sowing into plug trays instead of directly into the soil, as the resulting young plants have a better chance of success due to an established root system.
We are making the most of our glasshouse and heated seed bed at this time of year. Some of our Chilli seeds may take many weeks to germinate, so with these, patience is key.
Some of our young berry plants, propagated from our existing plant stock, have been planted in empty spaces against the walled garden wall. Filling these areas will create more growing area and will also soften the appearance of the bare brickwork.
We have also been repairing damaged patches of lawns as now is a good time to have a look at the condition of lawns and grassy areas. Repairs have been carried out by preparing a fine tilth from the topsoil, levelling and seeding. It is always worth considering what local wildlife might be present, and protect the germinating seeds by laying chicken wire on the ground and pegging it down securely. We always tend to have visits from rabbits digging up freshly raked areas. There is also the more instant option of using turf and now is a good time of year to undertake this task, avoiding the drier months. Remember to ‘butt up’ the joints in the turf and to water regularly to avoid shrinkage and die-back.
Also, we have been pruning spring flowering shrubs once the flowers have faded and have removed reverted green shoots on variegated foliage. Afterwards, the plants benefit from a feed and a mulch.
We always welcome new volunteers to the gardens team at this time of year – helpers are very much appreciated at Quarr Abbey. It is a really rewarding season to be in the garden as plants and produce start to get going and there is always something to do.
But whoever’s garden you happen to be working on, enjoy the buzz of the springtime season!
Pictures by Matt Noyce.