No winter break for enthusiasts

Time never stands still for gardeners.

Sunday, 6th January 2019, 3:11 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 4:19 pm
David Austins gift to The Alnwick Garden. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

We’re done with reflecting on the difficulties faced last year – the severe frosts, Beast From The East, and that extended spell of hot, dry weather that left plants gasping for water.

A new growing season beckons.

With it comes a steely resolve to avoid past failures, keep ahead of the game and grow the best crops ever.

Despite the difficulties faced over the year, the consensus for 2018, which reflected the experience in our garden, seems to be one of good fruit harvests, decent vegetable crops and floral displays.

Personally, I’d call that a result after the late spring and delayed start to plant growth.

The produce at our local shows also came well up to the mark.

I’d never underestimate the ability of Northern gardeners to cope with adverse weather conditions.

There is no winter break for real enthusiasts.

I’ve been digging-up and relocating the occasional hardy shrub on those days that a light overnight frost failed to linger. This is a work in progress that will envelop other border plants until spring bud-break arrives.

Although the greenhouse is unheated, it has been possible to get mid-winter cleaning under way.

The peach and grape vines shed a deep carpet of leaves, which has been gathered up for composting.

Any lingering, withered fruits and growth debris still attached to branches have been removed, and winter pruning completed.

Display benches and glass are about to be cleaned with mild disinfectant and water, and pots and trays washed to ensure a clean start.

It only remains to finalise the seed and plant plug orders and we’re ready to go.