After the burst of warm sun and record winter temperatures which brought February to a close, you could perhaps have been forgiven for thinking momentarily that summer was with us. The snowdrops are well and truly over, and the warmth certainly helped bring on the Garden no end, with the birds active and plenty of evidence of new growth. It won't be long before we have to start mowing!
This past few weeks our team of staff and volunteers have been focusing on weeding the Exedra Garden to get it ready for the appearance of 8,000 tulip bulbs in a few weeks' time. This area would have been the horticultural high point of the Garden back in the 1740s, and would have been the place where the gardener could show off his skills. We have recently restored it using historical research so it looks more like it would have done, back in the day, and these tulips form part of the early display. It'll be well worth planning a visit to see them - check back here for further updates.
Our visitors are all talking about the daffs this week. As well as some of the wild varieties which are dotted around the Garden, our Friends helped finance the purchase and planting of 25,000 bulbs in the Orchard last autumn. It took the Garden team two weeks to plant them, and though it didn't feel it at the time, it certainly does feel good now! You might also want to look out for cylcamen, winter aconites and some wonderful hellebores as you wander round the Garden.
In the Kitchen Garden, our new hop poles are up and there are hundreds of seeds sown and seedlings being gently encouraged under glass, backstage. We've grafted a load of apple trees and spread a lot of lovely soft bark chippings on our paths. And our tree surgeons have been in to undertake the next round of tree safety works, bringing new light to some areas.
Now is the time to start thinking about planting your snowdrops, once they're "in the green". We have just a few prime pots left for lucky visitors to buy, at a special seasonal discount for this time of year.
With the weather looking more typical for the time of year... when it does shower, that's the moment to duck into one of our intriguing follies or have a coffee and a piece of homemade cake in our friendly, cosy cafe.