Winter garden conservation at Sissinghurst Castle Garden
If you climb the tower and look down on the garden below you'll see some of the winter preparations taking place.
Plants that are slightly tender are protected against the cold of winter, cuttings have already been taken and are growing on in the greenhouse, just in case they do not make it through the winter. These plants include Solanum jasmonoides, Lobelia tupa and Melianthus major. We protect them by covering the roots with straw, held in place with a layer of fern leaves and sticks. These will be removed in spring.
Rose pruning is under way, starting with the wall roses. Once we have removed any dead and diseased wood we cut back the majority of side shoots to a couple of buds, whilst saving any strong shoots to tie in, adding to the structure. We always try and remove a couple of older stems right back to the ground to encourage new growth.
Preparing for spring
In the Cottage Garden and Purple Border the Dahlias are lifted to make way for the spring display of bulbs and biennials. The empty beds will have compost forked into them and the biennials, which have been growing on in our nursery area since the end of July will be planted out. These include Wallflowers, Digitalis, Sweet William, Verbascum and Hesperis. The Dahlia tubers are dried off and stored in pots of bark, under the bench in a frost-free greenhouse until the end of the winter when we will begin to water them again, hoping they will spring into life.
As you walk towards the tower you will notice the seemingly empty pots in the Top Courtyard, these are now full of a series of bulbs that will make a continuous display throughout spring. This will start with Crocus ‘Zwanenberg’, Iris ‘George’, Hyacinth ‘Woodstock’ and Corydalis ‘Purple Bird’ which will be followed by Narcissus ‘Pueblo’ and Narcissus ‘Minnow’.