Enjoy the gardens in Spring
As the sun warms the honey hued stone of the Hall, colour begins to weave its way back into the garden as new flowers burst out in all parts of the Gardens at Hardwick.
Colours begin to appear in the Winter Border and Stumpery, with dwarf Narcissus, Tulips and Winter Aconites bursting into flower. In late winter and early spring our impressive snowdrops can be found in the Stumpery and east and west Informal Triangles. They can also be seen in the woods across the wider estate including along Lady Spencer Walk which is close to our visitor reception building and car park. Early flowering shrubs like Ribes, Viburnum tinus and Forsythia are coming into flower on the Shrub Border.
In the South Border our Crown Imperials (Fritillaria Imperialis) are always an impressive sight. The clusters of yellow and orange bell-shaped flowers not only look imposing but also attract early insects. A lucky few visitors will be able to take the Hardwick grown Crown Imperial home from our Plant Sales.
Cowslips (Primula veris) with their bright yellow flowers, can be found Ornamental Orchard from April. Followed closely Pheasant Eye Narcissus and spring Crocus.
Hardwick’s Blossom in bloom
Blossom time at Hardwick is not to be missed. The abundant blooms of the Magnolia trees are always a visitors favourite. Their purple and white flowers on the South Lawn are sign that Spring is well underway.
Not to be overlooked are the ornamental ‘Crab Apples’ (Malus hupehensis). They produce large, white scented blooms around this time and then thousands of tiny maroon ‘apples’ which will feed the birds through the following winter.
Head gardeners tips for the Spring
In early Spring gardeners can still be taking the time to prepare the garden for the coming year. Spring is a good time for dividing any hardy perennials. Dividing helps make the most of the plants you already have in your garden, helping keep your garden tidy and encourage plants to bloom. A final cut down of borders will also help keep your garden ready for the next season and primed for early flowering plants.
Now is the time to add any plant supports which will help keep plants from falling down or snapping their stems. Climbing plant supports can also be used to encourage plants to grow in a certain direction to make the most of your space. At Hardwick we use natural plant supports from our trees such as Hazel and Birch which we harvest from the wider estate. These plants are easy to bend into plant supports and become almost invisible once the plant grows through them.
Any late flowering deciduous shrubs and climbers can be pruned now. Roses, Honeysuckle and Clematis. Make a note of how your spring bulbs are doing for ordering more or different varieties later in the year. Start to look at your seed requirements for the coming year to order soon. Borders can be cut down, weeded and mulched in preparation for the new seasons display.
As spring moves on activities in garden become more process driven. Keeping up with the usual mowing, weeding and edging will help keep your garden looking great. Keeping up these simple tasks along with planting up the plants you propagated through the winter will create a wonderful display in your garden.