Before the crocus, daffodils and tulips start poking up around the garden, and before bees can be heard collecting nectar from our flowers, Winter can be considered a time of reflexion. On this, we would like to update all of you on some of our gardener's winter tasks, horticultural projects and your garden perks:
- Pruning herbaceous plants to encourage new growth in spring for everyone to enjoy.
- Mulching beds and around Trees to retain soil moisture, provide them with readily available nutrients for spring, help supress weeds come warmer weather, and to control pests.
- Annual pollarding of perimeter trees, with much of the bark and chippings used to maintain paths between the beds.
- Tree protection. Our gardening team noticed a number of our trees were showing signs of disease and/or insect infestation, likely caused by the recent water droughts during the summer period.. As a result of these initial concerns, a tree expert visited our garden just before Xmas and confirmed a likely insect infestation. We are still waiting on their final report, however in the meantime there is no direct cause for concern to residents enjoying our garden. In the meantime, we have been advised to increase planting around our trees (up to a meter radius around the trunk) and fill with mulch to encourage more growth. Subsequently this will help create a healthier tree which will hopefully discourage insects from returning.
- Drainage increase to prevent water build close to Warrington Crescent. We will be increasing drainage and installing a new soak away channel to remedy this around that area.
Our Med bed was designed and created with our residents in mind. This area not only creates a quaint area of interest, but also provides herbs that residents can use at home in their cooking come spring and throughout summer. Our gardeners are on hand every Friday should you wish to ask them what herbs we have and how to cut them correctly. In the meantime, here is a list of a few, plus some simple instructions on when/how best to harvest:
- Lavender: Wait until half of the plant has flowered buds. Usually, this is in early to mid-spring. You might be able to tell that the lavender is ready by looking for tons of bees as they fly around to pollinate each plant. The best time of day to harvest lavender is in the early morning as it will have the highest concentration of oils inside the plant so your harvest smells or tastes great!
- Rosemary: Wait until spring or summer to harvest rosemary. It grows most actively during the spring and summer, so this is the best time to harvest, as the sprigs you cut off will grow back more rapidly!
- Thyme: Harvest thyme in the late summer just before it starts flowering. While you can cut it at any point in the growing season, most of the oils are held in the leaves before flowers start blooming, so that’s when they’re most flavourful.
Please be mindful when harvesting herbs and that this is done only during the times of year explained above. These are also food for the bees that visit our gardens and with the limited supply our garden supplies we wish enough remains to ensure there everyone can enjoy the smells from these plants throughout next summer.