Kevin Sweet's Garden Blog

Welcome to My April blog

Well the garden is charging ahead with vigour producing its new growth. The days are now noticeably far longer and in most cases warmer, which is great for the garden and for us in the Estate Team!

April 2017 

Over the Easter break I potted 2,880 begonias to grow through May; they will be planted out in the Walled Garden. I was like a well oiled machine.

We will be planting up our Summer Hanging Baskets over the next coming weeks, plus the containers- although we do need to be cautious as there’s always the risk of late frost. This year we have gone for a mainly white colour theme this is partially for  the weddings. 

We have started the grass cutting; the team spend a good part of the week keeping the grass under control -it’s like painting the Fourth Bridge. 

As a final point I have noticed we have a lot more rabbits about this year, we think this is likely due to the  mild winter we have experienced. 

Plant of the Month


From now till the end of June is Rhododendron season with their vibrant colours and ability to grow to extremely large sizes. 

At Ashdown Park we have a lot of Rhododendrons about, with the biggest one on the main lawn that is the size of a cottage! When it is in flower it is always a talking point as it is complexly blanketed in a mass of pink-reddish flowers that last for weeks. 

There are many different varieties of Rhododendrons available, from small compact plants that  grow well in containers to giant ones that would suit large parkland gardens. 

Rhododendrons are always a welcomed sight in the spring due to their vibrancy, which will only get better over the years. Some feeding will be required to keep them in good health, and limited pruning.

Photograph Credit: Rhododendron with Chapel Bell Tower at Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club by Peter Prior Photography

Going into May, here are my Gardening Tips: 

  1. Start feeding lawns with a lawn fertiliser and reduce the height of cut slowly
  2. Apply rose fertiliser to roses and look out for ant pests  or diseases
  3. Plant up hanging baskets and containers (Keep an eye out for frosts and move into a warmed environment i.e. green house or conservatory for extremely cold nights) 
  4. Tie in new growth on climbing and rambling roses
  5. House plants – increase the watering and start to feed


Happy Gardening

Kevin Sweet, Estate Manager