This time of year is one of the busiest for the gardens team as projects are finished, and routine maintenance intensifies. Seasonal pruning of climbers, Roses, Buddlejas and a host of other shrubs can now be done, as well as mulching when the weather allows.

But the garden itself is bursting to life with flowers following the dark of December and early January. Snowdrops and snowflakes are starting to poke their heads above the soil and bring their seasonal Joy. The larger Hellebores like H. argutifolius and H. foetidus are in full bloom, whilst the hybrids like Madame Lemonnier are starting to poke through. But remember to remove the old leaves from yours to really showcase the flowers even more, we do exactly the same here.

We have several fantastic Daphne ‘Jacqueline Postill’ in full bloom at the moment. This for me is the toughest Daphne, easy to grow and on a good day at this time of year the heady scent drifts across the garden for many metres, a must have in any garden!

Camellias are often thought to be only spring flowering, however the early Williams hybrids start to flower from January onwards. One of our best is Camellia ‘Mary Christian’ near the Lily Pond. It has been in flower for a few weeks already, and will continue for many more yet. These are extrememly showy plants, give great value for money, and entice any gardener out of the house even in the coldest winter weather.

Left, Camellia x williamsii ‘Mary Christian’, right, Daphne bholua ‘Jacqeline Postill’ below the castle.

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