As we head into November the trees are telling us that autumn has truly arrived in the New Forest with their breathtaking displays of colour.
On a clear day, the blue sky creates a perfect backdrop for the glowing yellow leaves of the Box Elder and the fire red of the Kousa Dogwood.
As we move further into autumn our hotel gardeners jobs change much like the season. Their wellie boots and waterproofs have been making an appearance with the recent rainfall we experienced but this doesn’t stop their enthusiasm to maintain our Hampshire hotel garden.
Throughout November here are some of the jobs on their to do list and perhaps some gardening tips of what you can be doing at home in your own gardens.
• Clearing leaves from lawns and pathways. Doing this regularly makes the task much easier overall. All the leaves collected around the hotel are added to a leaf pile, which will break down and eventually become leaf mould. This will eventually be added to the many flower beds, putting nutrients back into the garden.
• Pruning roses and buddleja to prevent wind-rock
• Cutting back dead stems from herbaceous perennials, such as sea holly, crocosmia and peony. Tender plants such as penstemons will be left alone as this will protect the crown of the plant over winter. Some seed heads can however be left alone as they add winter interest and whilst also providing seeds for birds. These are then cut back in Spring.
• Cleaning pathways and patios as they can become slippery in the wet weather
• Cutting down the stems of Jerusalem artichokes in the vegetable patch. The artichoke roots are left in the soil throughout the whole of winter as they keep much better than if they were to be dug up. The roots will be harvested fresh from the soil on the day they are to be served in our restaurant.
• Tidying and organising all pots and trays ready for spring planting
• Pruning the apple and pear trees once they are dormant to control the shape and size, plus encouraging the trees to produce more fruit next year
• Tidying lawn edges
• Divings forget-me-nots
• Digging over any flower beds that have been trodden on to help loosen the soil
• Proving winter shelter for wildlife by creating piles of branches and leaves
In our September blog we showed you the beginning of a project that our gardeners had began working on; turning two long flower beds into six, using newly created lawn pathways. This week our hotel gardeners were happy to step back and look at the completed beds, visualising the flowers that will fill this space next year.
This space is completely accessible to all our guests and you will all be encouraged to take some time to walk between the flowerbeds to admire the bees and butterflies as they go about their work.
At this time of year many of us like to have bonfires. It is important to check your bonfires before lighting them as hedgehogs and other wildlife could be sheltering inside. It can be a good idea to create a separate pile for wildlife, that will not be lit or touched again until Spring. This will provide vital shelter for our wildlife throughout the winter.
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