Kevin Sweet's Gardening Blog

Welcome to My February Blog

January 2018 we have seen Storms Eleanor, David, Fionn and Georgina hit the UK. This has caused a lot of worry as a mix of heavy rain and strong winds can cause great damage. In the great storm of 1987, we lost 60% of the woodland including some rare specimen.

As we enter February it is really lovely to see the days getting longer again. Snowdrops have begun to appear around the estate which is an indicator that spring is on its way. Keep your eyes out for our INSIGHT publication with top tips from The Sussex Wildlife Trust on how to look after wildlife in winter and, in our new edition coming soon - spring. 

Recently the team and I have been finishing a number of projects (when we could around the storms) including improving the drainage on some of our grassed areas and putting in a new entrance ramp onto the main lawns. We have also been busy cleaning up areas that are in need of some TLC. Next on our agenda is to sort the plants for the hanging baskets and planters around the hotel and Country Club. 2018 is our 25th Anniversary at Ashdown Park as a hotel as part of our celebrations we are going to honour a silver theme across our gardens – this will be continued through the seasons.  

Before we reach the plant of the month I would just like to remind you of a couple of event dates to put in your calendar: 

Hanging basket Workshop & Afternoon Tea
Wednesday 23rd May 2018
A very popular event so book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

NGS Open Day (National Garden Scheme Open Day)
Sunday 10th June 2018
£5.00 entry per person, all proceeds go to charity.

Plant of the Month

Hardy Ferns

There’s such a variety of ferns easily available today; most are easy care and perfect for borders, containers or hanging baskets (some a great for indoors too). My top tip is to be careful to ensure they do not dry out. 
I think they are great to use in containers and hanging baskets as they provide a contrast to the flowering plants, they can soften more ridged planting as well. During the winter, ferns mixed with spring flowering bulbs will look superb. Ideal growing conditions are partial shade and if possible damp, cool soil.

Garden Tips for February

1.    Cut back late-flowering clematis
2.    Sow winter salad leaves indoors for fresh salads in a few weeks
3.    Get mowers and other garden machines serviced
4.    Mulch borders with wood bark, compost etc.
5.    If weather conditions  permits carry on planting trees and shrubs

Happy Gardening 

Kevin Sweet
Estate Manager

Top Photograph: Sussex Wildlife Trust ©Alan Price