Garden news

Beech Walk, killerton

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

Hello everyone,

 A long, hot and dry summer meant that the garden team had cut and collected the hay from the wildflower meadows before August had even begun. The extra time gained from the early and fast hay harvest as well as the reduced demand from grass cutting has meant that the team have been able to spend longer than normal on summer maintenance work on the historically important woody plant collection.

This involves hard pruning of Camellia  and Rhododendron as well as tree work on evergreens such as yew  (Taxus baccata). The specimen shown here has been monolithed to stop it from damaging several rare old oaks.

Pruned back to protect other tree species
Yew tree in the garden at Killerton
Pruned back to protect other tree species

The photo below shows an area cleared of Rhododendron ponticum that had established from an old hybrid that had died and that had originally been grafted onto R. ponticum rootstock. 

Pruning back the Rhododendron
Pruning Rhododendron at Killerton
Pruning back the Rhododendron

Elsewhere around the garden

The warm summer weather has encouraged one of the garden's rarest flowers to bloom! Lagerstroemia indica or crape myrtle hails from India and the Far East. It needs a long warm period for the flowers to fully develop and has rarely flowered here at Killerton. Located against the garden wall just inside the lower garden entrance, the bursting buds can be seen up close from here or from the the lawn in front of the main house.

Hot weather has caused rare plants to bloom
Lagerstroemia indica blooming at Killerton
Hot weather has caused rare plants to bloom

Work has also continued in the Rock Garden located below the Ice House. Being a former quarry, even the mountainous plants used to shallow soil have struggled here this summer. The team have been busy removing excess ferns that take hold easily here as well as removing dead plants and pernicious weeds such as 'mind-your-own-business'.

Taking out pernicious weeds
The rock garden at Killerton
Taking out pernicious weeds

Work has been carried out to prune the Camellias at the lower entrance to the chapel grounds. Whilst the hard prune can look severe and flowering will be interrupted for a year, a periodic hard prune will allow fresh, healthy and vigorous growth to develop which will provide a fantastic display for years without the need to prune.

Rhododendron pruning work can be seen from Rookery gate down towards the large Sequoiadendron giganteum (giant redwood) next to the gravel path.

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

Karl, Head Gardener