January is a month when the Horticulture team are busy tidying the Garden and preparing it for the spring. Tasks include cutting down herbaceous plantings, finishing leaf clearance, digging over beds, mulching, weeding and preparing for new spring plantings. Weather permitting, it’s also a good time of year to get on with larger projects too.
Bog Garden revamp complete
Rock Garden redevelopment
The Alpine and Woodland team have now moved on to a new project on the Caucasian section of our Rock Garden. This sits between the Henslow Walk and the Lake, and a small stream runs alongside it. This is part of a rolling programme of redevelopment of the Rock garden, which started on the American Section i.e. the highest point on the Rock Garden, and has gradually progressed across this feature to ultimately end at the South African section on the southern edge of the Lake in a few years’ time.
In the Glasshouses, the team have been occupied with maintaining plantings while the restoration of the Glasshouses continues. Work has involved pruning to enable the installation of safety nets in the roof spaces of the houses, and also propagation of plants which have struggled with the low light levels caused by the scaffolding. They have also tidied the internal courtyards to allow ease of access for visitors when they return. Much of their time has been spent tending to the reserve Glasshouse collections, tidying and repotting, and also adapting a laminar flow unit which we grew carnivorous plants in, into a sand plunge bed for the cultivation of arid species.
Work behind the Terrace Garden
Having had to remove the Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’ and Eucalyptus parvifolia behind the Terrace Garden, the Trees and Shrubs and Landscape and Machinery Teams have turned their attention to reinstating this area. Both tree stumps were removed and the site levelled to ensure flat ground for the sowing of grass seed. Regular visitors will know that the access route from the Main Lawn towards the Café, and running alongside the Terrace Garden, had become well-worn and unsightly. With more space, a new gravel path is being installed to allow ease of access for visitors and vehicles in this area. Once the landscaping work is completed, we intend to transplant a young Cambridge oak to this site to provide a long-lived tree for younger generations to admire in years to come.
Farewell David Austrin
We also said a fond farewell to a wonderful member of our horticultural team – David Austrin who many of you may follow on social media and know from seeing him in the Garden. Next month, David will take up the post of Head Gardener at St John’s College here in Cambridge, so he won’t be far away.
And in the Garden, the snowdrops are out, the Winter Garden is looking stunning and the hellebores heavenly! Remember you can still enjoy and explore the Garden virtually with our Wellness Wanders, led by our Head of Horticulture, Sally and we will be sharing social media posts each week to keep you updated on nature’s calendar here in the Garden. We will be back with another news clippings round-up at the end of February, in the meantime, stay safe and best wishes from us all at CUBG.