Kevin Sweet's Garden Blog

Welcome to our first garden blog of 2017!

I will be bringing you this monthly blog to keep you updated on what’s been happening around Ashdown Park's gardens and across the estate. My blog will also include ‘Kevin Sweet's Plant of the Month’ as well as essential seasonal hints and tips to help you keep on top of your gardening.

January 2017

This January has certainly been very cold compared to last year, with temperatures down to minus 6 degrees! One good thing we can be grateful to the frost for is that it naturally kills off a lot of the pests and diseases from trees and shrubs.  Although it is still chilly outside, I invite you to enjoy January to its fullest; as is a great time to visit Ashdown Park for a walk around the estate. You never know what wildlife you may see and there are sure to be some great photo opportunities as the wildlife tends to venture closer to the hotel during colder weather.

Looking forward to the year ahead, we are very excited about a number of planned events including our Hanging Basket Workshops in May and Mushroom Foraging Weekend during October - CLICK HERE for our NEW Calendar of Events 2017. In our gardens we also have a number of projects planned including adding new planting areas around the Walled garden and various improvements to the area around our main terrace.  First things first, we are starting 2017 off by planting our pumpkin seeds over the next few weeks, so come October, we have a stock of our own pumpkins for our Halloween pumpkin carving afternoon!


Kevin Sweet’s Plant of the Month: Mahonia x media ‘Charity’

The reason for choosing this Mahonia (photographed right) is it stands up well to the many deer we have roaming the grounds of Ashdown Park and provides some welcomed colour during January. It’s an evergreen with spine-toothed leaves. The yellow flowers are beautifully fragrant, and later on in the year  it produces  purple berries. It has an upright habit and will grow to about 3 metres, in the right conditions - which is partial shade, to full sun and well drained soil. The leaves also provide striking colour during the Autumn turning from green to a wonderful reddish orange. Not a plant I would recommend however if you have small children as the leaves are very prickly!


February Top Gardening Tips

  1. Start sorting out your pots and containers, clean them up and check the drainage holes are not blocked.

  2. Rake up any remaining leaves around the garden and add to your compost.

  3. If weather conditions permit, cultivate borders and remove any old perianal weeds.

  4. If it’s not too frosty now is a great time to tsart pruning any fruit trees.

  5. Prepare to sow early flowering plant seeds, such as Begonia semperflorens, Coleus, Coffea (Arabica Nana), Himalayan Poppy


Happy Gardening!

Kevin Sweet
Estate Manager
Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club