We are now well into our Christmas preparations, with all our trees up and decorated, an army of Poinsettias out on display and beautifully crafted decorations throughout the hotel!
Ashdown Park Hotel always looks magical during the festive season, the roaring fires, neo-gothic architecture, traditional service and acres of manicured gardens and woodlands to explore while wrapped up in wintery layers, makes you feel like you have entered a true haven!
The setting up of Christmas runs like a military campaign, with my team putting the trees up, maintenance put up all the lights and housekeeping add the final touches decorating with baubles, ribbons and anything else we might have that adds the extra Christmassy feel.
The Estates team are also tasked with getting the timber in for the open fires and cutting greenery, which housekeeping skilfully turn into stunning displays.
This year for the first time we will also have extra trees outside our main entrance to greet guests and put lights on the ferns opposite, which lead to the gated entrance of the walled garden. These new festive touches, combined with the brand new external architectural uplighting installed over the Summer, really does give the already stunning main entrance the WOW factor!
Back to the grounds:
Festive hanging baskets have been set about the hotel and we are carrying on with planting in the Walled Garden; the borders are now filling out nicely.
With the recent snow and frosts I have seen a large number of fallow deer around the estate; as it gets colder they tend to come closer to the buildings. If you would like to try and see them, a good time is usually early morning or late afternoon/evening around the golf course and the top fields.
Plant of the Month
My last Plant of the Month for 2017 is the Acer Griseum; also known as the Paper -Bark Maple.
An elegant tree with dark green leaves that turn to vivid shades of crimson, gold and scarlet in the Autumn. I think the winter months reveal the true beauty of the tree: The bark is a rich mahogany red, peeling away on the older trees to reveal the orange/red of the smooth younger bark beneath. The Acer Griseum grows to a substantial size tree, ideal as a specimen tree. We have a number around the estate and they really do look great!
1. Protect any tender plants with garden fleece
2. If conditions allow divide herbaceous perennials and replant as required
3. Carry on clearing fallen leaves from lawns and borders and compost
4. Make up Christmas wreaths and table decorations from items from the garden
5. Clean the glass on greenhouses and cold frames to maximise on the limited daylight during this time of year.
Finally, I would like to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year from the Estates Team!