We’re busy collecting garden ‘black gold’

Work on the garden.
Work on the garden.

Arundel Castle Gardens during November: Working with Her Grace the garden team is very busy at time of year planting trees.

We are lifting and dividing our herbaceous perennial borders including our dahlias and canna lilies which have now been potted on and put into our polytunnels.

New plans in The Collector Earl’s garden are taking place, using a digger we have removed the large Trachycarpus fortunei from the centre piece of the grass labyrinth and placed them strategically around Oberon’s Palace.

The middle of the labyrinth is being planted up with El Nino Tulips, Crown Imperials – fritillaria imperiallas aurora and stunning large Alliums “round and purple” this will give a stunning tropical look for next spring.

In the Fitzalan Chapel we are in the process of replacing the old box hedging with Ilex crenata (dark green), which is a form of Japanese Holly.

This is a fantastic substitute for box hedging as it has stunning small shiny evergreen leaves a dense growth and no prickles! Most people will not notice the difference; it will also not suffer from box blight!

In the beds we have inter-planted 1,000 white wallflowers with 1,000 white Triumph Tulips ready for the spring.

All our flower and vegetable beds over the next month are being top dressed using good organic manure, this will ensure the soil will have plenty of nutrients for the plants, attract earthworms and retain moisture to prevent the soil from drying out during the hotter months next year.

Some of our garden team are busy collecting the endless fallen leaves, which are then rotted down into leafmould – known as “black gold for gardeners .”

At this time of year we all love walking through our woodlands and looking at our trees as they shed their colourful leaves, but perhaps this year it is tainted with the thought of looking out for our Ash Trees and hoping that they will not show signs of dieback from Chalara fraxinea, we are lucky here to have the Norfolk Estate foresters who are always vigilant, keeping a close eye on our trees.

But please do make sure that if you’re walking through wooded areas you clean your boots and hands afterwards to help prevent the spread of this disease.

If you would like to know more about trees and how to look out for dieback on Ash Trees go to the Forestry Commission website at www.forestry.gov.uk or The Woodland Trust at www.woodlandtrust.org.

Roses - November is an ideal month for planting bare rooted Roses. When bare rooted roses arrive I would recommend immersing the roots in water and soak before planting them.

Ensure that the hole is large enough so as not to cramp the roots, incorporate some well rotted organic manure and a small handful of bone meal, fill in the hole working the soil around the roots and lightly tread it in and then water well.

A few tips from the castle garden team:

· Plant bare rooted roses.

· Harvest your leaves for composting.

· Cut back, lift and divide herbaceous borders.

· Top-dress beds with well-rotted compost.

Happy Gardening!

The Annual Arundel Fair Trade & Ethical Christmas Fair will take place on 25th November from 10am to 4.30pm a good place to find presents.

Martin Duncan

Arundel Castle Head Gardener