Kevin Sweet's January 2019 Gardening Blog

Firstly a very happy new year from my team and I! 

Did you get to visit us over the Christmas period? 

Once again the festive decorations throughout the hotel, gardens and in some of the bedrooms looked truly amazing and the Christmas Trees were magnificent. We love seeing guests’ delight, especially when they set eyes on the impressive main tree which goes up to greet everyone in the reception.

In order to be as environmentally friendly as we can, when the trees were taken down we shredded them for repurposing as mulch for the shrub borders; the greenery will be composted. Already I have noticed the exciting signs of spring with a few brave bulbs poking their heads above the soil. 

Now the Christmas & New Year festivities are behind us, it’s time to look forward to 2019 and the coming longer (and hopefully warmer) days, although it looks like there is a chance of snow again soon!

I'm excited to let you know that 2019 will see the completion of one of the projects which the estate team has been working hard on, the ‘Sunken Garden’. This garden has been overgrown for a few years, so we have been cutting back the excess and restoring the area to a beautifully manicured space, like our other gardens, and adding in new plants. Although work is in the early stages, it should be ready for you enjoy and take Instagram ready photographs by summer. 

Wildlife at the Park
As many of you may know by now, I start my day early. When I arrive for work, which is normally before 6am, I am greeted by the sound of owls chatting. It’s a small thing which brings me a lot of pleasure, such a lovely way to start the day!

One of my first jobs is to check on the estate, which I do with the help of my wonderfully crazy young cocker-spaniel, Jigsaw. We normally come across deer grazing in the early morning light, Jigsaw will often smell them and let me know they are there before I can spot them, which is why he is always on the lead. If you want to try to spot the deer you can usually find them closer to the hotel during the colder months. Don't worry if you're not an early riser, as well as being active around daybreak, there's a good chance you will see them around dusk too.  
During the morning patrol, although Jigsaw can't get far on his lead, he still gets very excited when he sees the rabbits on the lawns. They all tend to casually remain in situ, enjoying their grass breakfast as we pass by, seemly understanding he can't actually get them and enjoying winding him up. It does make me chuckle, maybe one day he'll learn. 

Garden Tips for January into February
While the snow is still at bay, it's a great time to give your garden a general health check.

1.    Make sure any plants in containers have good drainage
2.    Inspect any stored dahlia and begonia for rot
3.    Prune apple and pear trees
4.    Clear any worm casts on grassed areas
5.    Prepare the soil in borders for any new plantings

One final note, please do book as soon as possible for our Hanging Basket Workshops during May! The team and I are running two this year as they always sell out.

Until next month. Have a wonderful remainder of January! 

Kevin Sweet
Estate Manager