The garden in January

Here's a note from Karl, Killerton's Head Gardener, about the garden in January.

Hello everyone,

With the garden dormant, winter is the season when the team get really stuck into some larger projects come rain or shine. Some of these have already started and regular visitors will notice a few major changes to the tree-scape of the garden.

The team has worked with specialist tree surgeons to carefully dismantle four trees that had either died or were fatally infected or severley wind and vermin damaged 

Dismantling a Sweet Chestnut killed by honey fungus.
Tree surgeons up a Sweet Chestnut tree.

Removing mature specimens always presents a great loss. The team will now carefully consider replanting options that tie in with the spirit and style of the garden here at Killerton.

The epic task of leaf blowing and collected leaves started in the autumn months and will continue well into January. With a large number of deciduous trees, the collection of leaf is a necessity to keep the wildflower meadows looking good year round. A continuous build-up of leaf will cause both grass and wildflowers to eventually die resulting in a significant impact to the appearance and diversity of the garden.

 

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

The team use leaf blowers, rakes and sheets and a tractor driven leaf sucker to carry out this task. The chopped leaf is added to and mixed in with the rest of the year's compost.

 

Elsewhere around the garden and estate

The garden team were thrilled to have been awarded a Bronze Standard Plant Health Award.

Most of us are familiar with invasive plants and pests such as Japanese Knotweed and Sudden Oak Death. With the shipment of goods to and from the UK from all over the world comes and inherant risk of introducing new pests and diseases that had previously not found a route to these shores.

Congratulations garden team!
Gardeners holding the Bronze Standard Plant Health Award

The Bronze Standard Plant Health Award is awarded to those gardens that adopt working and management methods to reduce the risk from new and exisiting threats. With a historically and nationally important plant collection in their care the gardeners were keen to do all they could to protect this important landscape.

Helping plants during the colder months.
Plants growing in a greenhouse.

You too can help both here and at home. Keeping to the path network and making sure footwear is clean before visiting greatly reduces the risk of unintentionally introducing a pest or disease.

At home, practice good plant hygiene, burn rather than compost high risk material such as Rhododendron and make sure you only obtain plants from reputable suppliers.

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

Karl, Head Gardener