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Jo's March 2021 News and Views

Hello Everyone

It's been so good to be able to visit the garden again and to start my volunteer sessions there too. So much to share with you so without further ado here we go!

The plans for the polytunnel all came together at the beginning of the month so in my official capacity as Chairman I went to see the building work on behalf of the Bowles Society. Photos 1,2 and 3 show that it didn't take Richard long to put this 'giant flat pack' together. It looks amazing and it is great to think that there will soon be potting benches inside and the plans to propagate and grow on plants for the garden will soon be realised. Well done, Richard!

The work on replacing the pond liner has started too. The following photos, 4, 5 and 6 show the extent of the silt that has to be removed before the liner can be replaced in the pond. The men have put boards down for the digger to roll over to protect the lawn as far as possible, photo 7. The monorail will take the silt to the yard for removal, photo 8. Great care is being taken to limit damage to the surrounding lawns and garden. The Gunnera has been removed and is being stored in the yard ready for replanting as have many of the other marginal plants from around the pond. I will bring you a further report next month.

Moving on to the Alpine Meadow, photo 9. This has been looking wonderful this year. So, too, is the Rock Garden. The Scilla bithinica is covering the banks again making it a photographers' dream, photo 10. The Magnolia stellata, photo 11, also stands out from the crowd. Walking back to the main garden the Chaenomeles japonica, japanese quince, is putting on a lovely show too. This is another shrub that flowers on bare branches followed by the leaves, photo 12.

Further on was the Orchard planted to mark the Millennium. Here the daffodils have taken over from the snowdrops and the yew hedge sculptures and beech hedge form a perfect backdrop for them, photo 13. On the other side of the beech hedge there used to be a selection of small allotment beds. These have been removed to make way for a second orchard. This is being planted with Heritage apple trees, one of which has been named Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles after our President, photo 14. This is possibly the longest name an apple tree has ever had! The tree was planted recently by the Brigadier ably assisted by Richard and Peter Oakenfull, photo 15. Unfortunately, due to the continuing Coronavirus restrictions it was a very low key ceremony with social distancing in place. Peter was responsible for the grafting of this new variety and is an ecologist. I have included a short write up on his work and what is involved in creating a new heritage apple tree for you to read. I found this very interesting, photo 16.

Walking up the path to the Tulip Terrace, I stopped to enjoy the view across the Kitchen Garden. The Forsythia in the distance is one of several around the garden, the bright yellow flowers bring a welcome splash of colour together with the beech hedge, the conference pear trees in the fruit arch and the colourful tulips, all bringing a taste of Spring to the garden, photo 17. The tulip 'Ancilla' is so beautiful and perfect for the planters, photo 18. I then made my way through the area behind the New River Lawn to Tom Tiddlers Ground. I knew the Prunus cerasifera 'Pissardii', the Cherry tree 'Pissardii', was flowering and I wasn't disappointed, photo 19. It's almost hidden here but not quite!

Next was a visit to the Wisley Corner where the Ipheion uniflorum 'Wisley Blue' was looking the best I've ever seen it, photo 20. The bulbs have been busy multiplying and cover quite a large area now, photo 21. On the other side of the path was this Epimedium x warleyense which was sparkling in the sunshine, photo 22. On the edge of the Rose Garden area the large Magnolia tree was absolutely covered in flowers, photo 23. The blossoms are exquisite and I think that magnolias everywhere are having a good year, photo 24.

Then it was over to the Arboretum. Here the Cornus mas has looked fabulous this year, photo 25 and the whole area was awash with daffodils, photo 26.

So onto my fauna collection for the month. First of all Bryan told me about the sawfly which were feeding on the Echiums, photo 27. I've included a ladybird who obligingly turned up for the photoshoot for perspective. Thank you Bryan for showing this to me. Then whilst walking around the Rock Garden these butterflies turned up dancing around in the sunshine. A Comma, photo 28 and a Brimstone, photo 29. The Brimstone is the bright yellow butterfly that you may see dancing around your gardens. Finally, a Nuthatch for you. It was calling from the top of the tree on the New River Lawn, a beautiful bird and one of my favourites, photo 30.

I hope you have enjoyed this wander through the garden with me.

Best Wishes



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