Kevin Sweet's Gardening Blog

Welcome to My March Blog

This time of year we would normally see a steady move towards Spring and a new lease of life with trees and shrubs just waiting to burst with new growth whether it be leaf or flower. Even the birds seem much happier with all the nest building and hurried activity. 

I had spotted lots of signs of the garden preparing itself for imminent Spring blooms, this was of course prior to the ‘Beast from the East’ and Storm Emma paying the UK a visit and providing a covering of snow. The last couple of days have really kept my team on their toes. With temperatures into the minus we have had to turn our focus to health and safety on the Estate - checking for fallen branches from the weight of the snow; removing snow and ice from the roads and paths around the Estate and gritting them – an on-going job as we experience more snowfall. 
Despite the additional work, experiencing snow at Ashdown Park really is magical. The whole estate and grand neo-gothic building transform into a scene out of a fairy-tale – you really could believe you are in Narnia: Especially once the clouds pass and the sun comes out. 

One of the greatest things about working at Ashdown Park is the beauty in every season. I would highly recommend trying to visit us at different times of the year and especially if it has snowed – as long as it’s safe for you to do so! My dogs have also loved the ‘Beast from the East’ and playing in the 4 or so inches of snow we have had.

Other than snow maintenance; over the past month my team and I have been pruning the trees and shrubs, and have just finished the red twigged limes in the Walled Garden. They look bare but within a few weeks, they will burst into leaf again! 

Wildlife Watch: 

Recently I have noticed quite a few foxes around, especially at 5am when I start work, with Spring coming there should be new cubs, worth keeping a look out for if you are visiting. While the snow remains, take a walk around the estate and see how many different types of animal tracks you can find – often crossing over each other. I always feel animal tracks give you a different type of glimpse into the secrets of the wildlife.

Plant of the Month


An evergreen perennial, perfect for borders and especially gravel or rock gardens. 
In the Spring The Euphorbia’s stems are topped with clusters of yellow/ greenish flowers and it generally displays wonderful variegated leaf colouring through the seasons; from green – blue, yellow and white, to red. 
The Euphorbia prefers full sun and good drainage. It will self-seed if the dead flower-heads are not removed after flowering. 
We use small Euphorbia plants in our winter hanging baskets and containers to provide interest then in the spring plant them in clumps in the borders. Do be wary though, the white sap this plant produces can be an irritant to the skin, gloves are advised when handling.

Garden Tips for March, once the snow has cleared.

1.    Clear any leaves or debris that may be sitting on top of flowering spring bulbs.

2.    Keep a look out for slugs and snails, the warmer it gets the more of them begin to appear. Particularly check around and under pots/ containers.

3.    If you protected tender plants with fleece start to remove it during the day. Do leave fleece on until the current weather has passed and temperatures begin to rise again. 

4.    Do the final prune to roses and feed with a rose fertiliser.

5.    Deadhead spring-flowering bulbs but leave the green leaves, best to let the leaves wilt and dry out naturally.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of our upcoming Garden events. We really hope you can join us, and of course, if you have any gardening related questions please feel free to ask a member of the Estate team. 

Hanging Basket Workshop & Afternoon Tea
Wednesday 23rd May.
CLICK HERE for full details. 

National Garden Scheme Open Day
Sunday 10th June.
CLICK HERE for full details. Read more about National Garden Scheme Open Day HERE

As always I wish you Happy Gardening!
Kevin Sweet
Estate Manager