October garden news

Karl Emeleus, Head Gardener Karl Emeleus Head Gardener
Killerton parkland is full of autumn colour

Here's a note from Karl, Killerton's Head Gardener about the garden this month.

With all the hay baled, longer nights and cooler days, autumn heralds a new chapter in the cycle of the garden here at Killerton.

The bright displays of summer will slowly fade and be replaced by a mesmerising spectacle of earthy autumn colours. Early to drop trees such as the Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum), which has a wonderful aroma of burned sugar, are followed by the bright colours of the many Acers through to the coppers of the Beech (Fagus sylvatica).

Firey red
Japanese maple tree leaves changing colour
Firey red

Soon the mammoth task of leaf collecting will commence - this involves a full team effort using leaf blowers, rakes and a tractor driven leaf sucker.

Protecting the grass by clearing the leaves.
Gardener clearing fallen leaves
Protecting the grass by clearing the leaves.

During the second half of September the garden team started digging up the path at the western end of the herbaceous border in order for it to be laid to turf to create a tidier transition onto the lawn.

Creating a tidier transiction
Gardener laying turf at Killerton
Creating a tidier transiction

Many tonnes of soil and debris were removed to make way for topsoil. The topsoil is then consolidated and raked to attain the appropriate levels in readiness for the turf to be laid so that it can establish well before the frosty winter weather sets in.

Elsewhere around the garden and estate

The garden team will soon be starting the annual autumn lawn care. They are first scarified to remove as much thatch, moss and other debris as possible. They will then be aerated during October using a tractor mounted spiker with 12 inch tines that pierce and lift the lawn.

This allows water and air to better penetrate the soil and promotes good root growth. They will also be fed with a low nitrogen, high potassium feed to promote root growth without encouraging excessive sward growth. 

Grass seed has recently been sown on the large area of bare soil to the southern side of the lower Rhododendron clump. This has been carried out in order to convert it back to lawn following the first phase of renovation of this historic planting. More of this important work will be seen over the next few years.

Helping new grass to grow
Sowing grass seed at Killerton, Devon
Helping new grass to grow

During September, the team took hundreds of cuttings of tender perennials in preparation for next year's display. These are now rooting well and in the processes of being potted on into individual liners and grown on in the warm glasshouses of the nursery.

The long lasting rabbit proof mesh that has replaced old mesh along the garden's perimeter fence is in its final stages of completion, and is hoped to be finished this month. 

We hope you enjoy your visit, and if you have any questions for the team please do stop us and ask.

Karl, Head Gardener