Spring is in the air?

Snow at Stoneywell

Spring can sometimes seem a bit reluctant at Stoneywell given our altitude and that's certainly the case at the moment. The snow, whilst making the gardens look stunning, has delayed the usual end of winter and early spring tasks. The gardeners have not been leaning on their spade handles though and the work goes on despite the weather.......

I left Stoneywell on Sunday with it looking as good as I’d ever seen it before.  Just a pity no one else was there to see it, I guess you’ll have to take my word.  The other unfortunate thing about it was it had very little to do with us gardeners.  It’s undoubtedly a pretty special place white over with snow though. If days like today show anything it’s that there’s always something to enjoy in any garden at any time of year, no more so than Stoneywell.  Saying this I’ve already stated I was virtually alone as unfortunately we were shut to the public largely due to access and the surrounding roads.  We were able to plod on the day previous though despite the weather and those who were there were lucky enough to see the place shimmering in the sunshine when there weren’t dramatic stormy skies.

The gardens covered in snow
The gardens at Stoneywell covered in snow
The gardens covered in snow

Whilst the snow might be frustrating for the odd visitor it’s no different for us gardeners either as it’s perhaps, in total, not been the most productive last few weeks we’ve had on property but that’s not to discredit the fantastic work the team have mustered in those rare moments it’s not been snowing or pouring with rain.

The management of the garden, and movement through it, is key at this point of the year as we restrict early and lasting wear and tear, so we’ve opened some and shut other paths, done some localised turf repairs where we can, and exposed roots on rotated paths are covered in preparation for reseeding once we know the ‘Beast from the East’ is definitely not to return.  Meanwhile in shadier spots paths have been chipped with woodchip from the shredding of last year’s pruning. 

Nothing from the garden is wasted in fact as we’ve also been getting crafty with further wood from the property with volunteers Ian and his son Joe steam bending hazel shoots for meadow hoops and Chris creating mini hurdle fences both of which we hope will minimise wear while looking pretty snazzy and be relatively long lasting…

Hazel hurdles in Stoneywell garden
Stoneywell garden hurdles
Hazel hurdles in Stoneywell garden

…and yet despite all this we’ve done a bit of work with plants as well, and not just clearing their never ending leaves.  Most notably work with the kitchen garden reshuffle is nearing completion with the transplanting of raspberries.  Now’s also the time of year we trim back our summer flowering heathers to keep them from getting leggy, (or leggier in some cases!)  and we got drastic with a Luma apiculata, a relative of the myrtle by the front door which got a good stare for at least half an hour before we plucked up the courage to get heavy with.  Worth the deliberation I believe. 

Raspberries in the kitchen garden
Kitchen garden raspberries
Raspberries in the kitchen garden

Fingers crossed we’re able to turn our attention to the beds and borders before long.  Maybe then it’ll be looking equally as beautiful as it did in the snow and what’s more we can say it was all our making!