February- Farewell deep freeze, Hello springtime!

Published: 20 February 2021

Last update: 20 February 2021

Blog post
This blog post is written by Chris Flynn, Head Gardener Chris Flynn Head Gardener
Purple crocus in the winter sunlight

As the ground thaws and cold winds are replaced by warming sun (in between the showers!) we look forward to what comes next from the rapidly changing landscape that is the garden in spring.

I was walking through the garden during our second flurry of snow, we don’t usually get much being near the coast, and thinking how idyllic the scene before me was. Snow on the ground, a light dusting in the trees highlighting the winter structure and halos providing a perfect backdrop to the bravest of the crocus! The reality was that the temperature had dropped further, and the delightful little snowflakes had turned to tiny shards of ice that we’re now hitting me in the face as the wind had gotten up again. It felt like time for a change.

Fast forward just a few days and the temperatures had risen, the sun had made a welcome appearance and you could feel the surroundings beginning to lift. Around the garden more plants had begun to come into flower with the scent ever increasing. The first snakes head fritillaries have started to pop their heads up in the meadows and primroses are opening up on the banks.

The change has been audible too. around the gardens bird song has been steadily increasing and some of their annual displaying has begun. In the canal the first of the seasons courting dances between the Great Crested Newts were spotted. A little shuffle and cheeky whip of the tail is the move of choice. We’ll find out if his advances were successful when we start to see leaves and artificial breeding strips begin to concertina towards the bottoms of the ponds as the females delicately wrap each individual egg amongst the foliage.

All these things point to the arrival of spring. Of course, we’re bound to get a few cold snaps again, but overall, everything is starting to change. The days are lengthening and there’s definitely more impetus to emerge from under the duvet each day to get back into the garden.

In the past couple of weeks, the team have been busy wrapping up the last of our winter work to get us in a good place for spring. Over the coming weeks we’ll be looking at some more seasonal pruning, path resurfacing, planting, mulching and general tidying. Hopefully over the next few weeks the ground will start to dry up a little and we’ll be able to start rolling out the mowers to start the annual process of bringing down the grass heights toward their summer stripy loveliness. We’ll also be reinstating the mown strips around the developing meadows to really make them stand out for the rest of the season.

It’s also an opportunity to look at how last years changes and those to come this year will embed with the emerging new philosophy of the garden. Nothing world changing (or maybe it could be?), but it will be the next chapter in the progression that we’ve made over the past few years. I’ll be sharing a bit more on this in the future as the ideas continue to develop. In the meantime, our new habitat survey for the property is nearing completion and has already thrown up some interesting things. The highlight so far has to be the presence of otters in the river that flows through the garden. This study will be the starting block for some of our future endeavours, which I’m sure will throw up some more treasures!

Time for me to nip off and get a bit of hedge cutting done and have a little explore to see what else has started to appear around the garden.