2023 began with the usual mix of weather:a few days of hard frosts, interspersed with several mild sunny days that enabled a start to be made. We endeavour to leave seedheads uncut for their beauty and conservation value unless they become too unsightly. So selective cutting down, weeding and repositioning of annual and biennial seedlings to make pleasing assemblages for the coming season were all on the agenda. Angelica, salsify, teasel, red clover, foxglove, cowslip and wild strawberry now have effective new groupings. These and other seedlings were saved for potting up for plant sales.
Most of our plants are fully hardy but a few species suffered in the frosts - Corymbia (lemon eucalyptus) in the Australia zone, Fuschia and Aloysia in South America and Hydrangea (Dichroa) febrifuga in China. These have been given protection until we can assess them before pruning back.
In February we received a first instalment of two bulk bags of peat-free recycled compost and a good team of helpers spread this on the newly weeded beds ready for the spring burst of growth.(A second two bulk bags were delivered in April). Willows were coppiced for use in weaving projects and buddleias were hard pruned (with the exception of Buddleia globosa). We get a large number of volunteer tree seedlings from the outer gardens and these need to be continually removed whether for weeding out or potting on.
A batch of Accession labels was received from Adrienne Armstrong, gardener,imminently due to retire, and we made a start on allocating these to their plants.
A second compost bin made of mainly recycled wood was added to the original one, and we set up our recently purchased water tank. This is filled for us occasionally by Bot Crew staff in the Tropical Ravine. Now we are pleased to be more self-sufficient on site, as we are some distance away from the Service Yard.
We have welcomed many visitors, individual, or organised visits or tours such as Holywood U3A gardening group, and the prestigious The Irish Tree Society with their chair Thomas Pakenham.