Gardeners cuttings from Sissinghurst Castle Garden

The garden in Autumn

By September, the lawns have played host to a great many visitors and are in need of a little pampering - and so we treat them to a routine of autumn turf care.

We begin by removing thatch (build-up of dead grass) which is known as scarifying. The removal of this dead material invigorates the lawn and reduces the risk of fungal disease. We then aerate the lawns using a hollow tiner to relive compaction and a slitter to open up the surface of the grass. Once all of this is done the lawns are top-dressed with a mix of loam and sand and over sown where needed with a high quality grass seed.

Sometimes there are areas of grass which are beyond pampering and need a complete facelift. These tend to be areas which get high wear under difficult conditions, for example, in deep shade. In this situation we will re-turf. Using a half moon edger and a board to mark out the area to be removed, we then lift the old turf using a turfing iron. Once the old turf has been removed and added to the soil heap we fork over the area before adding a small amount of sandy loam to level out the area prior to laying the new turf.

To complete the turf care, we feed them with an autumn fertiliser, high in potassium and phosphorus to help produce root growth and healthy leaves. The lawns are then closed off for the remainder of the season to give them a well-earned rest.

Other work going on in the garden includes: yew hedge cutting, seed collecting, growing on of biennials for spring displays, watering and feeding of pot displays.