Phil and I are now well underway on the TRIAD Fellowship programme. Our first 2 weeks were spent at Hidcote Manor Gardens where we will predominately be based for the next 4 months. So far we have mostly worked together and have performed a wide range of horticultural tasks in different areas of the garden. Jobs have ranged from raking up large areas of spent strimmed grass and wildflowers, to digging up rows of potatoes, deadheading herbaceous perennials, and taking cuttings of half-hardy and tender plants…
Phil raking up the long grass beneath the apple trees in the Orchard.
Raking up the newly strimmed wildflower ‘meadow’ on the Bulb Slope. The bulb slope is one of the areas of Hidcote currently under development – the new planting scheme will be inspired by wildflower meadows in the Maritime Alps, where Lawrence Johnston is thought to have taken inspiration.
Phil and I harvesting potatoes in the Kitchen Garden. Luckily we both enjoy a spot of digging, as it took us nearly 5 hours to unearth 4 long rows of potato tubers!
Phil transports the harvested potatoes (or ‘spuds’ as we Brits like to call them) to the potting shed where they will be washed and prepared ready for use in the restaurant and for sale to some of Hidcote’s many visitors.
Deadheading Dahlias in the Red Borders with the help of a handful of Hidcote’s many devoted garden volunteers.
Oh the perils of the ‘roomed’ garden! It takes the garden team around 8 months to complete the cutting of all the hedges here at Hidcote, with each member of the team usually spending 2 days each on the trimmers. Phil has spent many a long hour cutting hedges around the garden so is trusted to tackle the front of the hedge while I (pictured here) am new to the garden and have a bit of a practise on the back!
Though an attractive plant the white monkshood (Aconitum ssp.) recently introduced to Lower Winthrop’s Garden has become a little invasive so, aided by 2 visiting Swedish students, Phil and I set to work removing it from the border.
Taking cutting material from the Old Garden at Hidcote – you’ll notice that the cut stems are immediately placed into a clear plastic bag to reduce transpiration.
Preparing a stem tip cutting (here of a Salvia ssp.) ready for insertion into a preprepared pot of compost and perlite. Perlite has large particles so helps to increase the aeration (technically referred to as Air Filled Porosity, or AFP) of the compost, so helps to prevent the cuttings from rotting off.
The ‘prop’ bench at Hidcote. Pots of cuttings are moved along the bench to gradually decreasing temperatures over the course of a few weeks as they root and begin to grow.
Phil photographing plants (here an unknown Berberis spp.) for the plant ident he compiles each month for staff and volunteers at Hidcote.
We also select 12 ‘plants of the moment’ from the garden at Hidcote, labelling cuttings of these and putting them on display for visitors in one of the gazebos