Wildlife throughout the seasons
With an abundance of wildlife, we aim to manage the gardens as nature friendly as possible. This means finding alternative solutions to pest control and planting insect-friendly perennials. Spring is a season to complement the senses here, with the aroma of bluebells and wild garlic, the sight of blue skies and birds and refreshing spring showers mingling with blue skies.
Spring is quite a magical time at The Weir with the gardens slowly waking up and the days finally staying lighter for longer. Spot the buds preparing to burst open and the leaves gradually unfolding as you wander, listen to the bird song and the newly opened flowers attracting insects.
Flora and fauna include returning migrating birds making an appearance in the garden, such as chiffchaffs and finches who busy themselves finding materials to nest. Snowdrops and daffodils make an appearance in early spring later followed by bluebells and wild garlic. Other spring garden highlights include Scilla Italica plant otherwise known as the Italian bluebell.
April is a busy month for the gardeners at The Weir as it is when they will start sowing seeds in the glasshouse; tomatoes, cucumbers and squashes and more will soon emerge from the tiny seeds, on average we plant three varieties of each vegetable, giving our visitors the chance to try something new.
Tulips bring colour to the walled garden in May, as they make an appearance outside the glasshouse. Many of the perennials begin to flowers, attracting bees and butterflies, making the garden a bustling hive of activity.
The garden looks its best in June as the flowerbeds peak in the sunshine. The herb beds fill the air with delicious aromas, dominated mostly by oregano and curry plant. The scotch thistle encourages visiting gold finch, who love to feed on its seed.
Colourful foxtail lilies Eremurus Robusta and Crocosmia Lucifer add height to the borders in the walled garden, attracting bees and butterflies whilst the herb bed is a hive of activity for smaller creepy crawlies.
The hottest month at The Weir Garden is usually July when the gardeners harvest their first crop. Potatoes, summer squashes, courgettes, peas, carrots and beetroot make up the first of the crops, filling the gardens with colour. Annual bedding plants such as dahlias and cannas are also a main attraction at this type. Other plants of interest include salvia microphylla or ‘hot lips’ with distinctive red and white flowers and blackcurrant aroma. Climbing up the west wall is the hardy rose ‘Madam Alfred Carrière’ and the favoured architectural plant, the large leafed plume poppy.
In summer you can see the swifts and the swallows busily hustling around the gardens collecting insects for their young. The mixture of flowers and trees creates a haven for birds providing them with both food and a spot to nest.
Come August it is time to prune the fruit trees. The vegetable plots empty and the gardeners begin clearing the beds. It is important we leave patches of the garden wild for the feeding birds such as the green woodpecker who feed on the tiny insects residing in the long grass.
With the summer migratory birds leaving for warmer climates, the winter visiting birds start reappearing in the gardens in autumn. Fieldfares, redwings and mute swans can be spotted enjoying the grounds, as well as many other varieties. Plump ducks make the most of the garden resting on the walls or bobbing and dipping in the water.
Our pumpkins and squashes come in all sizes from the ‘scorn squash’ to the ‘Atlantic giant pumpkin’
Of course the main attraction at The Weir Garden in autumn is the changing leaves and foliage. The garden is filled with warm reds, oranges and browns as the weather becomes colder and wetter.
In winter the gardeners prepare the ground for new crops. The gardens look bare with few leaves on the trees. Hardy birds such as blue tits, robins, jays and starlings keep the gardens alive with song.
During this month the garden closes to visitors to give the gardeners time to prepare for the upcoming year.