November to February
This is the time for planning and preparing for the year ahead. Activities are focused on maintenance of structures and machinery, cutting back on overgrown areas, labelling plants, and netting smaller specimens to keep the wildlife away. Camellia Sasanquas are in flower from October to around Christmas time, braving the frost. In January the cyclamen are beginning to show as is Rh Christmas Cheer. By early February Camellia Japonicas are just beginning to flower. The snowdrops are peeping through the fallen leaves.
In February we begin to see glimpses of hope that Spring is on its way. Winter flowering crocuses provide a pale mauve sea around the lime trees near the house.
The Witch Hazel walk in the wood becomes the focus of attention with its haze of yellow, interspersed with winter Honeysuckles (Lonicera Fragrantissima) and under-planted with winter flowering Crocus Tommasinianus - an idea gained from writings of renowned horticulturist, G.S. Thomas. Three different mauve varieties - Siberi 'Tricolor', Tommasinianus and Tommasinianus Ruby Giant, succeed one after the other making a glorious sight over a long period. Camellia Sasanquas are over but the Japonicas and Hybrids are beginning to flower.
March to May
March brings the daffs - the wild and carefree Lenten Lily appears first, followed by many other miniature flowering daffs which flower till late April. The pathway at the beginning of the garden walk is richly lined with miniature daffs, as is the path towards The Barn.
By late March camellias are in full flower and the magnolias burst into blossom. Under-planting is used to enhance trees and shrubs such as magnolias and camellias. At the foot of the vast oak trees snowdrops and cyclamen can also be found nestling amongst the roots.
In April, tulips emerge in borders and pots, along with the wild cherry trees with their showers of white blossom. In recent years many new specimens have been planted to replace those damaged by storms or lost by old age. Towards the end of April and early May, the maples and rhododendrons come to life with bluebells romping underneath.
May to August
June brings early roses around the house and, with time, Wedding Day, Rambling Rector and Kiftsgate which flow like a waterfall from our apple trees.
High summer tends to be less colourful. The borders bake and plants look stressed. The colour is sapped from the woodland and the grass becomes burned and hard baked.