Well… Spring has definitely sprung once again, and as all good gardeners are aware, that also means the arrival of our arch enemies the slugs and snails! Due to the exceptionally dry past few months there has been little sight of all these guys, but now they are out en masse. You can almost hear them as they dine at all the local salad bars in Bushey! 

I am very excited about the new season ahead. Over the course of last winter and the early spring I have been working with volunteers, both local and from further afield, to carry out a lot of background work , particularly with the laurels. We also had the tree surgeons in, taking down a large dead sycamore in the Rose Garden. The hope is that with the removal of this tree there will be a lot more light available, so hopefully more and better blooms.

One of the nice things about the taking down of this tree was that we were able to create five seats that are now hidden in the Rhododendron Dell. And if you are wondering where the dell is, you will just have to come and explore a bit to find it! The Rhododendrons are looking magnificent at the moment.

Over the Autumn and early Spring we have also been busy in the treated part of the Clay Lane beds. The replanting is almost complete but we are waiting to see if we have managed to completely eradicate the Ground Elder (Aegopodium podagraria) before completing the planting.

One of the systems that we have put in place to prevent the Ground Elder from returning was a plastic membrane (or wall), which was dug into the ground. It is something similar to that used to prevent bamboos or Japanese Knot Weed from running amuck.

A highlight of the Spring so far for me has been the Tulip terrace display. People have remarked on it and it seems it gave pleasure to many this year. Of course, like all gardeners, there is something I would have changed or tweaked. We are never satisfied are we!

Another highlight of the Spring was the great success of the St George’s Day celebrations. It was wonderful to see so many people enjoying the gardens, the weather and all that had been laid on.

Something new at Reveley this year will be the trial use of a straw bales within the Vegetable Garden. I first saw this in Germany and then also at a display at RHS Harlow Carr.

The Straw Bale gardening technique has been around for some years. It is very popular in America, and is now used in France. It is being taught in Cambodia to help the poor farmers raise extra food crops during the monsoon season, to feed themselves and their families.

My particular reason for trying The Straw Bale technique here at Reveley is because we have another weed problem, this time called Enchanter’s Nightshade (Circaea lutetiana ).  It was treated in the early autumn to no avail, so rather than just spray again, we are trying a more organic approach by covering over the ground with a Mypex membrane and creatively continuing gardening over the top while the Nightshade dies off.  That is the theory anyway, ask me if it worked this time next year!  

So…  you are warmly invited to come and explore what’s new, what’s in bloom, see what’s hopefully not growing where it shouldn’t and what is growing in the Straw Bales.

Rory’s Blog

20 May 2017