Gardeners cuttings from Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Winter work in the garden at Sissinghurst

After an unusually warm and dry summer the garden begins to breathe a sigh of relief. This year there has been very little rain and the soil is very dry and in places, hard as stone. Very different from the sogginess you expect in autumn.

It is a time to reflect on the last year in the garden. Restorative work has begun in several areas.  The Rose Garden, White Garden and Top Courtyard are seeing renovation in some of the beds.  The plants have been lifted and soil improved in preparation for replanting.

Up to Christmas, we will be focusing on cutting down the herbaceous plants. Plenty of cuttings have been taken and seed collected from the half hardy and annual plants, so now they can be removed from the beds too. The spaces they leave will be filled with spring flowering biennials such as Wallflowers, Sweet William and Hesperis - as well as several thousand bulbs - before the beds are mulched. 

We will continue to prune and train the roses. To maintain vigour and good health, the dead, diseased, damaged and congested stems are removed from each one. The growth habit and purpose of every rose is different and the decisions we make when we prune affects the impact that they have in their allotted space. There are hundreds in the garden and this is a huge task that all the gardeners are involved with.

Over the winter months we will coppice a good quantity of hazel to use as plant supports, for making structures for next years sweetpeas to grow up and to make ‘benders’ for training roses onto in the Rose Garden.