Garden news

The dairy cafe with a magnolia behind

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

Hello everyone,

The gardeners have had to spend a lot of time over the last month trying to remind themselves that it was indeed February. The warm sunny period was in stark contrast to the bitter cold and snow that the team faced this time last year. Spring has come early!

March blooms are slightly ahead of themselves although overnight temperatures have been keeping things in check to a degree. Work to start cutting back borders is well underway with extra planting work in the Rock Garden being made possible by the warmth of the sun.

Gardener's planting in the Rock garden
Gardener's planting in the Rock garden
Gardener's planting in the Rock garden

Over the past month, the team have also been busy carrying out some winter projects. February saw tree felling work, notably at the end of the lower lawns where three Tsuga heterophylla (Western Hemlock) were taken down.

Removing a damaged tree
Removing a damaged tree
Removing a damaged tree

Originally a clump of around 7 trees planted on the site of an old tennis court, these trees have had a troubled past. Over many years, the clump of 7 had been reduced to three as they either died or were brought down by storms. As one of the remaining three started to die, the decision was made to remove them all in a controlled manner rather than let them fall on their own accord which would cause collateral damage.

Elsewhere around the garden

Following last year's renovation efforts on the Wisteria sinensis that adorns the front of the mansion, the garden team spent time this winter on secondary work and checking the plant's response to its previous major prune.

Gardeners checking the wisteria on the house
Gardeners checking the wisteria on the house
Gardeners checking the wisteria on the house

The climber had responded well with all major remaining limbs alive as well as producing many smaller potential new limbs. The team spent time carefully selecting which limbs to keep and tie in and which to remove in order to maintain a robust and sturdy framework. Care was taken to make sure that all tendrils were in front of supporting wires to prevent future damage to both plant and building.

It will still take a couple of years before the Wisteria is back to its former glory but this work will make sure that it will look great for years to come.

One of the garden team's students, Sasha, has spent time with the volunteer nursery group building bug habitats in the garden yard. Following meticulous research, she identified various opportunities to encourage natural biological predators to help combat some of the many pest problems faced in a nursery environment.

A new bug habitat in the gardener's yard
A new bug habitat in the gardener's yard
A new bug habitat in the gardener's yard

Not only do these habitats look great but they help towards the National Trust's commitment to a healthier and greener environment as the need for chemical control is severely reduced.

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

Karl, Head Gardener