My Garden: Preparing for Peak season

The terraces of Haddon Hall in Derbyshire make for a romantic walk
The terraces of Haddon Hall in Derbyshire make for a romantic walk

Since Christmas, the gardening team and I at Haddon Hall have been busy concentrating on getting everything ready for the growing season and also for the Hall opening on April 8, when we’ll welcome the general public once again.

The terraces of Haddon’s garden are open on the same days as the hall, so visitors will be free to stroll the elegant and romantic grounds with glorious views of the Peak District.

Hellebores should be in full flower now

Hellebores should be in full flower now

My team consists of Steve who is my under gardener, volunteers Gill, Allison and Susan and also James Patrick who is currently at college doing a horticultural diploma, not forgetting Woody the dog too. We’ve been on cleaning duty, jet washing the patio and steps, checking over, cleaning and servicing the tools, stocking up on seeds and compost and reorganising the potting shed for the busy season ahead.

Steve has been in charge of keeping the compost bins regularly turned, which is a great job for a cold day. We do this because every pile needs a recurring influx of oxygen, air is important for the decomposition process, think of it like a fire – air is necessary to keep it going.

As well as this, Haddon Hall has countless beautiful roses on the outer walls, and although we started pruning and tying them at the end of September, we still haven’t finished. If you have roses in your gardens as well, try and get all of the pruning finished by the end of this month before new shoots start to appear, then give them a good feed.

We have also been busy making hazel domes and wigwams to support tall perennials, the hazel has just been delivered, so we’ll begin to put it in place when the overgrown plants have been split and the borders are weed-free. Weeding the magnificent knot garden ready for the violas has also been a priority – they should appear in late March or early April.

Haddon Hall has countless beautiful roses on the outer walls

This is now the perfect time of year to get your gardens ready for spring, so make sure to prep tools that have been lying around all winter, make sure your soil is ready for planting and prune shrubs and trees.

Many hellebores should be in full flower now, so make sure the large leaves are removed, not just to get a better view of the flowers but also to prevent a fungal infection called hellebore leaf spot spreading. Also, keep your greenhouses in check, especially the glass. We use sulphur candles that you can get from a garden centre to fumigate the greenhouse to get rid of pests and spores which may cause disease.

Pots and trays should be properly cleaned too.

Haddon Hall head gardener Jayne Wanless.

Haddon Hall head gardener Jayne Wanless.