Garden news

Killerton garden in summer

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

Hello everyone,

The hard work put in through spring pays dividends with full borders, flower buds bursting open and meadows teaming with wildflowers and wildlife. But whilst the work is done in some areas, so others now require attention.  

The weather over the past few months has posed a real challenge to gardeners everywhere including here at Killerton. A prolonged cold winter meant usual early jobs were put on hold. The sudden change to a prolonged dry and warm spell in April/May made spring tasks such as new planting difficult.

Despite the unfavourable conditions plants still have to go in the ground if we want them to grow for the summer.

Planting out tender perennials
Gardeners planting
Planting out tender perennials

With the risk of frost well and truly past, the team planted out the tender perennial display that flanks the south lawn by the old front door to the house. Using plants propagated last autumn from nursery stock, the display will provide summer colour right through to the first frosts of winter. The planting plan this year was devised by our Historic and Botanical Garden Training Programme student Lucy.

Staking has also begun in the main herbaceous border. Using pea sticks coppiced from a birch plantation on the estate plus hazel from the Chapel Grounds, these natural supports will soon be lost in the foliage of the plants as they grow through them.

Creating supports using wood from the estate
Gardeners in the flower bed
Creating supports using wood from the estate

Elsewhere around the garden and estate

Eagle-eyed regular visitors may have noticed that there are several hundred metres of new metal edging around various gravel paths and borders.

Path and border edges are easily damaged by footfall, pests such as rabbits and the weight of machinery such as lawnmowers. They need periodically re-cutting to keep them looking smart. It can take one person over a month to re-cut all the border edges. This also has the added issue of borders slowly increasing in size.

The metal edging installed resolves all these issues, improves presentation and frees up time to focus on more pressing jobs.

Leveling out the lawn
Gardener re-turfing parts of the lawn
Leveling out the lawn

The team have recently carried out work to correct the levels of the lawns which naturally undulate from the coming and going of many trees over two hundred plus years and the gentle sweeping curve of newly forged steel. The existing lawn was lifted and soil from the estate was used to fill in under the turf before being relaid. Worn and compacted patches will be re-seeded when the weather becomes more favourable.

The team have also started to work through the Rock Garden behind the Lady Cot (Bear's Hut). Filled with Himalayan plants, this is intricate and slow work with many small pockets of planting. Access is always a challenge in this former quarry.

Planting in the rock garden
Garden voluneer in the rock garden
Planting in the rock garden

Weeds and ferns can find a strong foothold in the cracks and crevices of the bedrock that forms the backdrop to this hidden gem in the middle of the garden.

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

Karl, Head Gardener