The Harris Garden has been undergoing some redevelopment since August 2010 to modernise and reduce the level of maintenance required in the central area of the garden so allowing time and effort to be focused on the specialised areas.
The Grounds Department of the University of Reading has been working with the Friends of the Harris Garden to implement these changes and has taken on the day to day maintenance. One full time position as Head Gardener in the Harris Garden has been created.
The stream and main pond have been the focus of attention this month for maintenance work. The main pump that circulates the water from the bottom pond to feed the stream was cleared of silt and leaf debris and is functioning perfectly. Next we had a “Friends Day” on Thursday 20th when as many Friends as could make it came in to help clean the four ponds along the stream and weed the banks. We emptied the water out of the ponds then shovelled out all the sludge and leaf debris, four trailer loads of sloppy, smelly mud were removed.
The ponds have been refilled and the pump is keeping the stream flowing from 8 till 6 each day on a timer switch. Thanks to all the Friends who managed to come in and help clean up the stream we are looking forward to further tidying along the stream ready for some new planting in the spring.
Replanting has started in the entrance area of the garden and in the green border, both of these areas have seen heavy clearance of overgrown Prunus lusitanica and other shrubs and trees that were past their best. It’s good to be doing some planting now the area is cleared and levelled. Trees planted to the right of the garden entrance include 2 Eucryphia nymansensis, 1 Acer, 1 Hoheria and 3 Corelopsis low spreading shrubs.
On the lawn to the left at the entrance two beds have been turfed over and one large circular border in the centre remains to simplify the design and maintenance. A Stewartia psuedocamelia has been added to the existing Hamamelis and Magnolia with an under planting of dwarf Choisya, Epimedium and Geranium with a scattering of spring bulbs.
The green border is being planted with a selection of bamboos along the back with banana plants ( Musa basjoo), Fatsia japonica and hydrangeas with more plants to follow, a work in progress.
Snowdrops ( Galanthus species) are in full flower in the long grass underneath the crab apple trees they are a picture (come and take one) the first hint of spring to follow.
Thank you to all the Friends of the Harris Garden who keep coming to work in the garden, please keep coming the garden needs your time and efforts.