by Matt Noyce, Head Gardener at Quarr Abbey

Around now is that dynamic time of year when things begin to stir in the garden. Late winter turns to spring and the dormant season starts to break. Young shoots push their way through the warming soil and tree buds begin to swell.

Time is ticking for seasonal jobs to be done, so have those secateurs and spades at the ready to finish off your pruning and start planting.

I feel that there is something so rewarding in planting trees and shrubs for future enjoyment.

There is a huge amount of enjoyment to be gained from seeing the benefit that a tree can give as it grows, especially if it bears fruit or nuts. Some of the more recent plantings at Quarr Abbey are now at that stage. With care, they have grown strong and have established well.

Now is a great time to plant out potted trees and shrubs and, if the weather is still favourable, ‘bare root’ trees. We have selected specific apple trees to plant amongst the existing fruit trees within the orchards here at Quarr. We are aiming to have early, mid and late cropping apples to extend the season for as long as we can. Many of these apples will keep for months in our dedicated apple store.

Another hugely appealing task for us is to review and choose the seeds for the next growing season. We have been tailoring the growing plan somewhat to accommodate the needs of the tea shop and this year we are again turning more of our Quarr Abbey produce into delicious jams and chutneys, and are creating a wider range of home made products to sell in our farm shop.

In other areas of the gardens we have been trying to catch up after the last couple of years of disruption. Furlough and lack of time has made our workload bigger as we have come back to multiple years of growth and thicker stems to prune. We have been finishing off the cutting of our hedges to make way for lush new growth, pruning the many orchard trees ready for this year’s growing season and also pruning the roses that had been left with their rosehips on to help feed the resident birds. Once pruning has taken place, a feed and/or a mulch is advisable to nourish the roots as the soil starts to warm as spring temperatures rise.

Enjoy what space you have outside and Happy Gardening!

Pictures by Matt Noyce.