Now that spring is here the days are just flying by – I can’t believe I am halfway through my placement at Ashridge, before I know it the end of summer will be here and it will be time for me to move on.
By only spending a year in each garden whilst on the PGG traineeship it makes me appreciate each season even more than usual, because I know it will be the first and last time I’ll see spring, summer, autumn and winter in each garden.
Daffodils in the arboretum at Ashridge
I was comparing my work diaries the other day and I suddenly realised how different everything is now compared to this time last year. In 2013 the weather was cold, with a big freeze in March – as a result spring was about a month later than normal.
This year is the total opposite, we’ve had an incredibly wet but mild winter, and the past two weeks have been pretty much summer temperatures. The snowdrop season was ahead of itself, now the daffodils are out in full force with cherry blossom, camellias and magnolias almost at their full flowering peak – it’s only the middle of March, spring is about six weeks early!
Cherry blossom (Prunus)
What makes me love nature so much is the way it just does its own thing. You can’t tell it what to do, no matter how much humans try and control it nature always wins through in the end. As someone who works with plants daily the trick is trying to work with nature, not against it.
Ashridge life has really picked up pace, me and the team have been working like trojans in order to get on top of the propagation of the summer bedding. Two hundred and eighty trays of Salvias, one hundred and twenty trays of Rudbeckias and sixty trays of Lobelia are just a few of the plants we have been busy pricking out the past week or so. We’re mean, green fighting machines!!
Trays of seedlings
We’ve also been working in one of my favourite areas at Ashridge, the Italian Garden. It has a mixture of herbaceous beds which we have been weeding, edging and generally giving a good tidy. The Italian Garden has a water feature in the middle of it, I noticed a pair of ducks swimming in it the other day – for a minute I thought the heat was making me hallucinate!
The Italian Garden – spot the duck!
I saw a frog too!
Before tidying. . .
It’s a real joy to wander around the gardens, the winter bedding we planted out in October is now looking gorgeous. Places like the Terrace and Fernery have come alive, the pots in the various courtyard areas have splashes of colour too. I love seeing the hard work we did in autumn pay off in spring, it’s a feeling of satisfaction no amount of money can buy.
The Lazell Garden is looking particularly stunning at the moment, it is mainly planted with Acers and heathers, the pinks and whites of the latter make it a winner at this time of year.
The Lazell Garden
The Dry Garden has bulbs peeking up out of the gravel, dots of blue and yellow highlight the rest of the garden perfectly.
The Dry Garden
Narcissus and Chionodoxa
The area which has looked the most wonderful recently has been the bank near the staff car park. It has drifts of dark crocus which now has clumps of bright yellow daffodils scattered amongst them. The colours contrast each other beautifully, I swear that sight is what makes people come to work each morning!
Car park bank
I can’t wait for the seasons to unfold, and to see what the rest of the year has in store. Watch this space! 🙂