Gardeners cuttings from Sissinghurst Castle Garden

South Cottage Garden at Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent

At the moment it seems quite possible that this Summer will turn out to be another record breaker for extended periods of high temperatures and exceptionally low rainfall.

The effect on the garden is perhaps most clearly apparent with the lawns. We have to irrigate with sprinklers as well as close off some of the ‘high-traffic’ areas, which would otherwise succumb to the lethal combination of drought stress and the inevitable trampling of thousands of pairs of feet. 

We always endeavour to keep as much of the garden as accessible as possible, but sometimes we have to make the difficult decision to close off certain areas; not only to maintain standards of presentation, but also to conserve the long-term viability of this beautiful and historically important garden. 

This month, much of our time will be taken up with hedge-cutting. We start with the box and the hornbeam, then once these are finished we’ll move on to the yew.

Hedge cutting at Sissinghurst Castle Garden
Hedge cutting at Sissinghurst Castle Garden
Hedge cutting at Sissinghurst Castle Garden

The Hornbeam hedges are the only hedges which are cut twice a year, now and in early spring.

Many of the box hedges have not been cut for at least two years. This was done deliberately, allowing them to produce more foliage and then photosynthesise more strongly, which in turn should improve their overall health and resilience – they certainly look fuller and more verdant as a result. 

We have also begun work in the Lime Walk: clearing off the old foliage from the spring bulbs, weeding, removing the epicormic growth (water shoots) at the base of some of the lime trees (Tilia platyphyllos rubra), and cutting down any herbaceous plants.

The great majority of the roses in the garden have now been dead-headed (mostly by our dedicated team of volunteers), and are now ready for their second flush of deliciously scented blooms.

Enjoy the summer and the garden.