Royal Shakespeare Company logo Tickets for 2024 Tulip Festival available now!

Welcome to our Head Gardener’s Journal

In this monthly column, we will share technical aspects of our work and also keep you up to date about ongoing projects. If there is any topic you might want to hear more about, please ask during your next visit!

Winter Protection

Even though the past few winters have been rather mild, we err on the side of caution and put up defences against frosts and winter winds.

Our South Garden olive trees are too big and heavy to be moved inside. We also find that they are happier overwintering in situ than being transferred to a different environment. While keeping a close eye on the weather forecast, we leave them uncovered most of the time as olives can withstand light frosts. However, if significant or prolonged frosts are expected, we wrap them in custom-tailored “tents”.

A wooden scaffold is fixed around the lead planter and the foliage covered with a fleece layer.
The olive tree is enclosed in its tailored “tent” which is then zipped up.
The olive trees are ready to withstand even severe frosts.

A very important winter defence is to “half-mast” those shrubs which will be pruned at the end of the winter. This applies especially to Buddleja davidii and shrub roses. Reducing the height of the plant prevents it from “wind rock” which could cause damage to its framework. However, the crown is not removed entirely to provide some frost protection. 

“Half-masting” Buddleja davidii