Spring Garden at The Firs

Alchimella in the cottage garden

The structure of the garden is clear in Winter and early Spring, but it slowly becomes blurred as the months pass by and the planting takes over.

Now we can see a double gravel path, with an old wrought iron arch spanning one of them; somewhat chaotic borders in between the paths; standard roses at the head of a neat bit of lawn with wide borders at the sides of the garden, and what - or should I say who? – is that reclining on a welcoming bench at the bottom of the garden?

Cottage garden with spring flowers in the border
The Firs cottage garden with spring flowers in the border
Cottage garden with spring flowers in the border

The garden at The Firs was the Elgar family back garden – providing playground, vegetable bed and flowers for the house as well as riot of colour outside. After the early snowdrops, the daffodils start pushing though and bringing a bright splash of yellow to the garden after the dun of winter. Tulips of all colours come around Easter and columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris) takes the opportunity to push up through the gravel and anywhere else its’ seeds landed last year.

The appeal of cottage gardens is often the organised chaos of various colours and forms, so annuals play a key role in the planting intermingling with the stalwart perennials; bright cosmos, orange marigolds, tall blue cornflowers and fluffy the foliage of nigella will come and go almost as they please from year to year, but in amongst these itinerants are the hardy perennials; pink sedums, striking purple Russian sage which produces a wonderful fragrance when a leaf is crushed, big blousy peonies, beautiful roses and bright ox-eye daisies all holding their place year upon year.  

Lavender in the cottage garden
Lavender in the cottage garden
Lavender in the cottage garden

Now that Spring has finally arrived, we seem to be having all the seasons in one month! Waterproofs or sunhats? But since I’ve joined the team at The Firs, I’ve been looking at the main structure of the outdoor space, and especially reinvigorating the planting in the gardens by pruning and tying-in overgrown climbers and shrubs. This will all make way for summer planting which we hope will encourage pollinators to the gardens.

The garden in late spring
late spring garden at the firs
The garden in late spring

With the warm days, the grass has notched up a gear and we’re able to create perfect stripes in our cottage lawns, which compliment the beautiful flower beds. These are full of bulbs and summer perennials which are starting to fight for their own space in the gardens, creating a riot of colour.

We also have a lovely country ‘red-carpet’ pathway of chipped bark meandering through our contemplation garden. This leads you to Sir Edward Elgar sitting peacefully on his bench looking longingly towards the Malvern hills - a fitting pathway for our country gent!

We are about to install a 3-bay compost bin unit which will enable us to recycle our garden green waste and also compostable waste from the café and visitor centre. This will enable us to recycle on site and provide a good mulch for the gardens later in the year.

Wild garlic in bloom
wild garlic in bloom at the firs
Wild garlic in bloom