As we say goodbye to January, I note what a dry month this has been. Whilst that has been useful in many ways, let’s hope that the missing rain does not come during the Bluebell Walk instead!
Preparations are well underway for this year’s opening, and you can now download the 2022 Arlington Bluebell Walk & Garden Publicity Leaflet from the website.
Even though a few bluebells are tentatively showing their first leaves, the overall impression that one now sees is the abundance of moss on the trees and stumps, which is overlooked when the ground is densely covered with bluebells and wood anemones.
I never thought that self-sown tree saplings would ever become a problem, as rabbits and deer used to devour them as they emerged! It is only in the last few years as wild rabbits are laid low with a devastating kidney disease, which seems to have reduced their numbers as happened with myxomatosis, coupled in this area with a dramatic decrease in deer numbers, that we have seen such an increase in the spread of saplings. I think woodland and garden owners in other parts of the country would read this with envy, but it does cause a problem in Beatons Wood. It means that in the areas we coppiced in 2016 & 2019, we have had to hire a flail machine which has removed or partially removed some of the thousands of these saplings, as once their leaves appear, they hide the bluebells!
In the far north east corner of Beatons Wood we have a large clump of Butcher’s Broom, which is an indicator of an ancient wood. We have many small patches throughout the 24 acres of Beatons Wood, but none others approaching this size.
The garden team has been working hard in readiness for the first National Garden Scheme (NGS) opening for 7 years, which will be on Sunday 20th February. Due to not having our Car Park Field open this early in the year, online booking at ngs.org.uk is essential please.
John is in charge of laying woodchip on the paths. This serves to prevent weeds and it also provides hours of fun for our blackbirds who love nothing more than flicking the chippings about.
The path edges in the Woodland Garden are expertly edged by Steve using chestnut and oak timber from Beatons Wood.
We cannot now imagine life in the garden without Harriet, our WRAGS student who started with us at the beginning of November. Here she is pruning in the Woodland Garden.
Bates Green Garden is really coming to life with snowdrops, crocus, winter aconites and hellebores coming into flower. There are many fragrant winter shrubs too and the birds are becoming more vocal every day.
Banish the winter blues with a walk here; every Wednesday from 23rd February we will be thrilled to show you everything we have done. For our regular Wednesday openings please book online at batesgreengarden.co.uk
Emma Reece – Head Gardener
This message was added on Saturday 5th February 2022
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