Banner image: Peonies in the garden, Mike King

May in the gardens

With the heavy rain early in the month and warm weather everything is growing quickly. So, as usual, we’ve been busy!

At the beginning of May as part of “The Big Help out” we held a plant sale in a gazebo behind the café. This attracted a lot of attention. We spoke to a number of interested people and sold a large number of plants as well. So overall a great success!

In the Smudge garden we spent a session hand weeding in the scree area. This is a regular activity. Its hard work but well worth it. The Alliums are now in flower and have increased in number. The Hebe that we cut back earlier in the year is also doing well.

The Clematis on the bridge appeared to be dead so we cut it right down. However, there did seem to be some life in a couple of shoots at the very bottom so we didn’t try to remove the roots but we’re not optimistic that it will survive.

Image: Wallflowers, Mike King

In the arbour we did some weeding and removed some of the grass that was encroaching. Looking at the Jasmin we noticed that there was some strong growth at the base but that leaves higher up the plant did not look very healthy. In consequence we removed the top wire surround and cut it back. The Geraniums and Pulmonarias are doing well, and the Lavender seems a lot happier.

In the Sensory and Wildlife garden we discovered a number of Spanish Bluebells. These are very pretty but they do hybridise with our Native Bluebells so it was necessary to remove them. Another invasive plant is the Forget Me Not. A large number had seeded themselves in the roof garden on top of the bug house so these were removed as well as a number in the raised beds. Whilst these have pretty flowers that attract pollinators, some need to be removed before they set too much seed.

There are a lot of plants that are coming into flower at the moment. The perennial Cornflower and the Paeony are particularly good at the moment and some of the more unusual plants are just beginning to flower too. These include the King’s Spear (Asphodeline Lutes) with its yellow spiked flowers, the dark blue flowers of the Honeywort (Cerinthe) and the Common Bistort (Persicaria Bistorta) with its pink bottle brush type flowers.

Image: King's Spear, Mike King

We are beginning to see a number of Dragonflies and Damselflies in the garden. One of our regular visitors, who is a keen photographer, showed us a photograph that he had taken of a Hairy Dragonfly which is evidently quite rare. There are also a lot of bees at the moment and we were pleased to hear a Reed Warbler.

The gardens seem to be attracting a number of keen botanical photographers who are only too happy to talk to us and discuss their hobby. One in particular had taken a photograph of some moths eggs under a leaf on a Stachys plant!

A number of us are away on holiday in the next few weeks so we won’t have a full team of gardeners for a while but there will always be at least two of us around and we look forward to meeting and chatting to our many visitors.  

You can get involved in supporting your local Forest beyond The Great Big Green Week. Join us today and become a volunteerFrom wildlife surveys, gardening and supporting events, there is something for everyone!

Interested? To find out more or register your interest contact our Community Engagement Officer