The Autumn Programme
When the garden closes at the end of September, we start chasing the clock to complete our autumn programme before Christmas. In contrast to what one might expect, we are just as busy in the autumn as in the spring when we work very hard to get the garden ready for the opening in April.
The autumn race starts with preparing our Parkland Meadow for the annual mass bulb planting in the first week of October: The grass is cut once more and taken off to create the right conditions for the planting bulbs of various sizes.
Once the bulbs have been planted, we set out on the same route our visitors usually take. However, this is the only similarity between a leisurely stroll through the garden and our autumnal assault on the borders! Foliage and fading flowers are cut down ruthlessly to expose the skeleton of the borders which is the starting point for changes to the planting. We will have collected several hundred of plants over the course of September, ready to be added to the existing planting in our continuous efforts to achieve an even better display in the next season. Apart from the South Garden and Kitchen Garden where there will be another mass planting of bulbs in November, smaller quantities of bulbs are planted as we work our way through the individual gardens. Just before Christmas, we apply this year’s crop of leaf compost to the borders which marks the point when the garden has been “put to bed”. While all this work is going on, there is another major effort which requires huge amounts of stamina and resilience from the garden team: Throughout the autumn, leaves are diligently collected twice per week to generate next year’s leaf compost, but also to avoid the spreading of diseases.