February 2024 Update - Garden


February 2024 Update - Garden


I am happy to report that the recent dry weather has enabled us to get onto the beds and prepare them for you all to see when we open on February 28th.  Our home-made compost is perfect for mulching, it is full of worms and beautifully dark, meaning that it will absorb the heat and warm up the soil beneath. The early bulbs are coming through a treat.

Early bulbs

We have had all the large trees in the Garden inspected and pruned accordingly. This was a timely operation as it meant we did not suffer any storm damage. It resulted in a splendid heap of wood chippings which John has been spreading to good effect on our winding paths. Lucy and our WRAGS trainee, Emma Tee also created this fine log pile from the Scots pine logs.

Log pile

Lifting and dividing herbaceous perennials is recommended in February unless the soil is frozen. This is a rewarding and initially messy task which can require a great deal of muscle power and determination. The Bates Green Garden Team are not deterred at all as you can see by this picture of our Plumpton College student, Alison, who is celebrating after valiantly digging up a particularly stubborn Amsonia hubrichtii.

  Victory over herbaceous perennials

We are plotting and planning our series of summer workshops which this year will be extended from purely horticultural techniques through wildlife walks, plant, tree and fungus identification to singing, yoga, mindful walking and sketch-booking. We must obviously sample these delights ourselves before offering them to you all, and so the Garden Team got together with Lizzie Baker, who runs singing for wellbeing and connection sessions locally. After a very quick practice over a cup of tea, we then sang in and to the Woodland Garden. If you would like to listen to us, then please have a look at our Instagram page @batesgreengarden where you will find the videos. The birds sang along most beautifully.

Singing in the garden

The gardeners at Bates Green strive to garden with and for nature and have found that every single area of the Garden has its own robin. When we stop over the winter months for tea and the ubiquitous cake, the Middle Garden pergola robin has a ball and is now tame enough to be hand fed. He or she will have a shock when the warmer weather comes, and time becomes too precious to stop for long let alone savour a slice of cake.

Hand feeding tame robin


If any of you would like to see photographs of Bates Green Garden and Millenium Avenue from late February 2022, there is a seven-page article in the March issue of The English Garden magazine out now. Helen Yemm, who for many years was the gardening correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, visited the Garden and interviewed both me and John. The stunning photographs were taken by Bennet Smith. Once you have read the article, you can then come for a visit on February 28th and see what has changed!


Enjoy the peace of this last winter month.

Emma Reece - Head Gardener



This message was added on Wednesday 7th February 2024

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