February/March 2023 update


February/March 2023 update



Arlington Bluebell Walk and Beatons Wood

There are only 6 weeks before we open the 50th Bluebell Walk, but fortunately more tasks on the ‘To Do List’ are marked in green! The list seems to grow each year and seems quite daunting when I put it together at the end of each season, but gradually the tasks get done and I find marking what we have done in green a great visual boost to remind me that we are making progress and that we will be ready to open on time.

The first Bluebell Walk was the idea of my late wife Carolyn, who was an acclaimed gardener and very involved in the village. Through the generosity of the Village Hall Committee a commemorate bespoke weathervane has been installed on the hall, depicting Carolyn with her favourite gardening hat pushing a wheelbarrow through bluebells.

  Carolyn McCutchan weathervane

Below on the wall is a plaque with the words:

The weathervane on this Village Hall reminds us of Carolyn McCutchan 1942 - 2019.
The inspiration behind the Arlington Bluebell Walk, which contributed greatly to the building of the Hall.
Arlington Village Hall Committee 2022

In the Millennium Avenue, where Carolyn first spread the seeds of wild daffodils Narcissus pseudonarcissus from a small patch in her garden, the blooms will soon reach their peak. This flowering spectacle is over by the time the Bluebell Walk starts but they can be seen by those who book to view Bates Green Garden, open every Wednesday 10.00am to 4.00pm. Friends of the Bluebell Walk & Garden can visit whenever we are open, free of charge. If you’re interested in becoming a Friend, you can find all the details at bluebellwalk.co.uk/friends-of-arlington-bluebell-walk

Even such a display of wild daffodils needs maintenance. This image shows how clumps of bulbs are getting congested, so once they have flowered the Garden Team will help me separate the larger clusters and plant the surplus bulbs in bare areas, thus improving the overall display for next year.

  Daffodil clump

There were 21 winning entries of last year’s Photographic Competition – First prize, Second prize, and one or more Highly Commended in each category. These are now mounted on the wall adjacent to the Gate House as well as in the gallery on the website. The ‘Bates Green Farm Photographic Competition’ is now open for images taken in both Bates Green Garden and the Bluebell Walk when open to the public. I always look forward to seeing the variety and imagination of the photos entered. If you would like to join in, you can read more at bluebellwalk.co.uk/photo-competition

  Competition sign  


John McCutchan




Our spirits are currently being lifted by the jewel-like colours of bulbs such as crocus, aconites and Iris reticulata. The snowdrops too have been gloriously abundant, their bell-shaped flowers standing out against the beautifully mulched earth.

Photos by John Glover

One of the joys of being a gardener is that the activity encourages forward thinking and a positive attitude and so, when you admire your snowdrops shining forth, you must look closely for groups that appear congested, with more leaves than flowers. If these are lifted and divided now whilst still green and visible, the display will be even better next year. Think carpets of snowdrops, their luminosity brightened by the low winter sun.

Congested snowdrops   snowdrops divided and replanted
Congested snowdrops divided and replanted.

is a task that I personally adore. Here at Bates Green Garden, we positively encourage self-seeding plants such as Nigella, annual poppies, Calendula and honesty to name but a few. These will grow where they choose and often look charming and add to the naturalistic look we are aiming for. It is important to learn how to recognise these desirables in their seedling form so that they are not plucked out by accident.

At this time of the year, certain ‘weeds’ are easy to spot, and this is an excellent time to deal with them. Traditionals such as arum, nettle and dock should come out of an ornamental border with relative ease, it is much better to remove them now than attempting to do so later on in the year when the plants will have set seed and there will be a great deal of other foliage for them to hide behind.

The weather could not have been better for our NGS opening in February. The sun shone all day, and everyone was smiling. I have decreed that the same weather will prevail for our next NGS day which is on Sunday 19th March, Mothering Sunday. What better treat could there be for any mother than enjoying all that the Garden and Beatons Wood have to offer in early Spring and partaking of delicious refreshments in the Bluebell Barn?

We will look forward to welcoming you all.

Emma Reece - Head Gardener



Arlington Bluebell Walk and Farm Trails - www.bluebellwalk.co.uk

Bates Green Garden - www.batesgreengarden.co.uk




This message was added on Wednesday 15th March 2023

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