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Garden Diary: A Tale of Two Seasons

Update by Matt Collins, Head Gardener at the Garden Museum

Mulching

The gardening team are spending much of the time mulching at the moment. Sat on such poor riverside soil, the Museum gardens really benefit from supplementary layers of top mulch. Though it would have been good to get this done earlier in the year – while plants are still dormant and underground – we were held back by enduring leaf clearance and the sudden snowy weather. Nevertheless, it’s great to see plants beginning to pop up through the mulch, a sign that spring is definitely on its way. The strange arrival of Cardamine pentaphylla (pictured) has been a cheerful sight too, clambering up between gravestones in the front garden. I don’t recall seeing these beautiful pink flowers in the garden before, which makes me wonder whether their appearance has resulted from ground disturbance during the Museum’s redevelopment.

Snow

Snowfall this winter took us somewhat by surprise. I was pleased to have the Sackler garden’s tender citrus safe and indoors before it arrived, however the cold weather has taken its toll on a few of our key plants, damaging the leaves of Nandina, Viola and Tetrapanax, and bringing the perennial cannas to the ground at last – we were wondering when they’d finally topple! (They’ll be back next year). On a more positive note, the gardens looked great draped in winter white.

In the coming weeks…

Projects in the gardens at the moment include: finishing mulching, cutting back ferns (to make way for new spring fronds), painting our new wooden compost bins and replacing hedging that struggled during the heat last summer. It won’t be long now before the daffodils and tulips planted last year are up and in flower – keep an eye out for those in St. Mary’s Garden too, kindly supplied by the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association under their ‘Bulbs for London’ Scheme.

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