How does the garden grow?

Wallington's gardening team on a visit to Cragside

Every second Friday, throughout 2019, you can visit the website to find out what's been happening in the gardens; which jobs the team have undertaken, what wildlife they've spotted, what has caught their eye, what is shining in the gardens at that time as well as lots of other details and special moments. It's the chance to find out more about what it takes to maintain, grow and develop the beautiful gardens of Wallington that so many visitors enjoy. And if at any point you have any questions for the gardening team here, just drop them an email askthewallingtongardener@nationaltrust.org.uk and they'll be happy to get back to you. So without further ado.....

Friday 15 February 2019

This week’s diary entry is from gardener Beck, who looks after some of the most fragrant parts of the garden, both inside and out….

This is Beck here, I look after a patch of the Walled Garden called the Cut Flower Border - which I will tell you about a bit later in the year - and the greenhouses.

I love this time of year in the Conservatory because it really is a different time zone you enter as you come through the door - almost like stepping off the plane into a mini-holiday destination!  Outside is winter, but inside there is colour, warmth and most overwhelmingly scent! Many of the plants that flower this time of year put on an extra special effort to attract a pollinator - and pump out huge amounts of fragrance. I often wish I could bottle this scent - ‘Eau d’Wallington’ would be up there with Chanel No 5!

At the moment the combination of Cyclamen, Jonquil Narcissi, Heliotrope, Primula malacoides and Hyacinths is wonderful - and I just love it when visitors come in, get hit with the scent and go ‘wow!’

I could have put in a beautiful flowery picture -the yellow Hyacinths are so pretty!  - but I thought I’d leave that to Chris and his Friday Flower slot - and instead turn this into ‘These are a few of my favourite things..!’ and share this picture of a squirrel who has been regularly visiting the feeder just outside. Actually maybe ‘It’s a Wonderful World’ would be a better choice?! 

Red squirrel in the Walled garden
Red squirrel in the Walled garden
Red squirrel in the Walled garden

Friday 1 February 2019

This week’s diary entry is from gardener Peter. Seems some things just aren’t as simple as you’d like it to be….

Winter is always the time for projects in the garden, or catching up with jobs before the rush of spring. The project we endeavoured to undertake this week was to remove the stump of a lime tree at the bottom of the walled garden in the section I maintain and develop. The tree sadly had to be felled during the previous year due to disease. Removing the stump would also give a chance for a dead yew hedge to be cut back and the potential of new project planting within this year.

However, as no project is ever simple an electrical cable of course had to be found beneath the tree stump and all work has been stopped and the area closed by barriers until we can assess further. Frustratingly although safe the area won’t look at its best until we can refill this hole and start to consider planting.  

My section of the garden has some really wonderful features- the Italian wrought iron Menagio gates, blue Himalayan poppies and giant Himalayan lilies naturalised in the borders, scented plants and an informal wall as protection. We have completed a lot of new planting so far this winter, undertaken rejuvenating pruning of shrubs, planned projects and improved the soil. The garden will look fab in the spring, and the sooner we complete this task from mine and the visitor’s perspective, the better…

Hard at work in the Walled Garden
Hard at work in the Walled Garden
Hard at work in the Walled Garden

Friday 18 January 2019

Today's entry is by gardener Iona and it just so happens to be her last day here. Thank you for everything Iona, good luck with your next adventure and make sure you come and see us soon! 

It's been a whirlwind working the last six months at Wallington, but now it's finally time to say goodbye. It seems fitting to leave with a bonfire, baked potatoes and cake. A lot of my time here has been spent removing Rhododendron. This has cleared space in East woods for some exciting new planting. I will be returning to see; Cornus florida 'Rubra', Acer palmatum 'Tropenberg', Halesia Carolina and Amelanchier alnifolia 'Obelisk'. Surrounded by colleagues and volunteers I was struck with how friendly the team are, that keep the gardens developing and looking just lovely. Having spoken to lots of visitors, staff and volunteers during my time here I am aware how personal people's reactions to the gardens are. My favourite feeling is of walking past the infinite vista of garden pond, glimpsing the gate to the walled garden in the distance. My best experience has to have been meeting three otters walking up the same path towards me.  

Bonfires and baked potatoes - a Wallington farewell
Bonfires and baked potatoes - a Wallington farewell
Bonfires and baked potatoes - a Wallington farewell

Friday 4 January 2019

So I’m Simon, Head Gardener here at Wallington (more about me another time). Wow, it's 2019 already, spring is round the corner, the garden here is poised ready for action and so are my garden team.

A garden is only as good as its team and I am lucky to have a bunch or troop (what is the collective term?) that are dedicated to the task of looking after this unique garden.

Over the coming year I’d like to introduce the whole team as they contribute to this regular column allowing us to give you a snapshot of our world and let you see what it takes to run our garden.  As we tell our stories, we hope to make you our visitor feel part of the team too because without your feedback and participation, we wouldn’t be inspired and driven to develop and conserve this special place.

Well, let’s get on with 2019 then and see what we can achieve.

Snowdrop sculpture in Wallington's East woods
Snowdrop sculpture in Wallington's East woods
Snowdrop sculpture in Wallington's East woods