There were two Open Days planned for this month. The first was organised by the Friends of the Harris Garden on April 15th to raised money for charity, the weather was fine though a little chilly and numbers were down on previous years attendances. The second was due for Sunday 29th and was organised by the University but unfortunately the weather in the week leading up to the day was very wet and then the weather on the day was absolutely atrocious forcing the event to be cancelled which was disappointing but unavoidable. Maybe it can be rescheduled for later in the year.
Hosepipe bans and drought orders came into force on April 5th which meant that I was watering the newly planted Autumn border, Jungle garden and Geranium border to keep the new plants from dying in the exceptionally dry conditions in the first week of the month. How distant that seems now because as soon as the water restrictions started the heavens predictably opened and it has hardly stopped raining since. This is very good news for the garden which is now looking lush green and the normal spring flush of growth is in full swing.
The wild flowers around the garden have been a real delight this month and have lasted really well helped by the cool wet weather conditions. There have been Cowslips in profusion all around the garden along with Wood anemones, Primroses and Violets. The species Tulips planted in the Cherry bowl have also been getting better all month and combine well with the Cherry blossom.
The student eco-group who volunteer on Wednesday afternoons completed the construction of the dead hedge along the edge of the eco-zone on the last week of term before departing for their Easter break. This has hugely improved this area and we intend to now move further back into this area and continue bramble clearing to enable us to plant more native species to form an under-storey of bushes to screen the garden from Wilderness Road.
The Thursday volunteers started the month in the potting shed pricking out and potting on seedlings intended for bulking up the wild flower plantings in the meadows, the first Thursday was cold so it was a relief to be in the shelter of the heated potting shed. After tea break we moved on to weed, edge and tidy the Red borders. The tidy up continued the following week as the first Open Day approached with the New Herbaceous borders and the Digitalis collection plantings getting a make-over. On the third Thursday the weather was wild and wet but work continued with the large pond getting a face-lift. The final Thursday of the month we removed the winter frost protection from the banana plants as well as weeding along the stream, mowing the lawns and trying to weed the new plantings in the Autumn border but it was too soggy. It rained again prompting a new volunteer to asked, “Does it rain every Thursday?”
The Gravel garden continues to take shape with the paths now laid out and sharp sand added to the borders and rotovated in to make them free draining, we hope to get the plants in next month if the weather allows.