_MG_7153The year has rolled on, the mornings have grown darker and gardens everywhere have gently gone to sleep; tools-downed and left quietly by the garden bench…well, almost everywhere.

At Norney Wood garden in Shackleford, there was still plenty to be done when our Grayshaw & Yeo gardeners arrived at the end of November to continue working on parts of the 10 acre garden that were last seen burgeoning with growth in the height of summer. (Click here to read about the summer training.)

Cutting back to maintain the balance of planting…

norney wood 1_MG_7200In the summer, (left) the Grayshaw & Yeo team had looked at a shady part of the garden in front of the house, planted with anemones, bergenias, hydrangeas and hucheras. The vibrant growth of both the hydrangeas and the anemones overshadowed and swamped the bergenias and hucheras, so on this visit (right) the team set to work cutting back the delicate, papery flower-heads of the hydrangeas (down to a bud above last year’s pruning cut).

_MG_7184The aim was to create an open, bowl shaped fret-work of branches to encourage air flow and a compact structure. The hucheras planted beneath also benefited from more light and, with luck, next year will flourish strongly as understory planting. See the RHS link here for more information on pruning hydrangeas.

_MG_7179_MG_7163In the adjacent border (right) the irrepresible anemones were cut right back and the begenias were removed and re-planted amongst the hydrangeas, to allow the anemones free-reign next year. The gardeners were careful to check that anemone roots weren’t entwined with the transplanted bergenias, to avoid the anemones establishing in unwanted places.

Dividing perennials for stronger new-season growth…

_MG_7142_MG_7151Autumn is also the perfect time to lift and divide herbaceous perennials, while the plants are dormant. In the Norney Wood flower garden the team set to work lifting and splitting the salvias that had become overgrown and entwined with catmint. The dead growth was cut off and the salvias were moved to a new border, where they could flourish.

The remaining catmint (right) was cut back, healed out with spades, divided and re-planted in the flower garden at regular intervals, along the path edges, to create symmetry and balance.  It was important for the gardeners to cut back and clear debris first so that the ground-plan could be assessed, before all the plants were put _MG_7156back – this helped with the overall design. Ensuring that the plants were at ground level – neither too deep nor with their crowns too exposed was also a key point.

Blood, fish and bone was added on top of the soil, so that it could slowly percolate amongst the roots during the wet winter weather. _MG_7147

Most importantly, we had the seal of approval from the only opinion required in matters of catmint…

National Garden Scheme 2016…

As ever, Jean and Richard were generous and accomodating, and the gardeners enjoyed the experience immensely.

So much so that we hope to return in the summer of 2016 to see the results of the morning’s work and support Norney Wood’s open day, as part of the Shackleford National Garden Scheme safari day on Sunday 12th June 11am – 6pm. See the link here for more information. June 12th is also the Queen’s official birthday, so Norney Wood will be providing a regally-inspired afternoon tea; what’s not to love about an afternoon of high tea and horticulture? See you there.

To make a donation to the NGS scheme or find out more about how you can get involved, click here.