Regal displays of flowers at Haddon Hall as visitor attraction prepares to re-open

The recent and very welcome burst of sunny weather has allowed us to put a spring in our step and gear up for the new visitor season.

By Reader Letter
Thursday, 11 April, 2019, 05:00
L findsay Berry, head gardener, with flowers grown at Haddon Hall

Our greenhouse has been the scene of much activity with plants both for the garden and for our gift shop being carefully nurtured.

We are pleased that our own new plant range will be offered in attractive biodegradable pots using peat-free compost and wooden labels.

Imperial Fritillary at Haddon Hall

We are committed to a plastic-free future. For the hall gardens we have potted up some stunning varieties of Dahlia, including Thomas Edison, Café au Lait and Philip Campos – watch out for them in the borders this summer.

Roses scrambling through domes are always a popular feature of the borders and we have been renewing many of the older domes this year using hazel cut from our coppices.

We generally expect the hazel to last for two years before it requires replacement. They do take a bit of patience to construct but provide a really attractive natural support that fits the character of the gardens perfectly, echoing the curve of the stone balustrade they sit in front of.

There have been new additions to the dye border, which is populated with plants traditionally used for fabric dyeing. More of the Hollyhock Alcea nigra, a really beautiful dark variety, have been added alongside Eryngium, Verbascum, Woad, Rudbeckia and Echinops to ensure we have a full and beautiful border.

The team removing shrubs at Haddon Hall.

Currently the Imperial Fritilliaries are providing a suitably regal display. These were introduced to England by the Elizabethans following their travels round the globe.

Here at Haddon we don’t use chemicals or pesticides in the garden, so in order to keep the weeds at bay this year we are trying out weed burners to keep them in check.

Hopefully they will prove effective and save the wear and tear on our hands and knees. Big Dave has been busy doing his first mow of the season and also scarifying the lawns, which has removed a lot of the moss that seemed to get a hold last year as a result of the extended hot weather which really impacted on the grass.

One hazard of mowing at the moment is an explosion in the frog and toad population, centred on the pond in the fountain terrace. We have many more than previous years and judging by the amount of spawn, a veritable amphibian army is waiting in the wins.

The first dome at Haddon Hall

Our doors open again on April 12, we look forward to seeing you then.