Gardener’s Journal - April 2024


By Jenny Huddart, Head Gardener


April lived up to its ‘April showers’ reputation - but with the rain we also experienced unusually cold temperatures. The low temperatures had a knock-on effect to the seedlings in the Propagation House – all equally reluctant to show themselves and appear above the warm soil. The garden team were a little hesitant to pack away their thermals too!

But nature’s sluggish start to the growing season didn’t slow down work in the garden. 

Seed sowing intensified for both the ornamental and vegetable garden, with space on the heated benches being a premium in the glasshouse. The growing plans that were created in the winter were finally coming into play.

The month started with the planting of our remaining fruit trees. Inside the garden, twelve pear trees were planted along the northeast wall. Six will be trained in a familiar cordon fashion but we wanted to try out a new method to the gardeners at Water Lane, the Belgian Fence espalier technique – a style in which limbs are trained into a lattice like pattern.

Outside the walls, nine Morello cherry trees were planted along the entrance wall. Their spring blossom will be such beautiful sight upon arriving at Water Lane in years to come.

More long-term growing plans came with the creation of a new asparagus bed - 72 crowns in total. The chefs will have to wait patiently for four years before we are able to harvest from this new crop, but it will be worth the wait! 

April was a month of creating structure and a framework for the garden to evolve and develop. It may have been a rather damp start to the growing season, but as the popular saying goes ‘April showers bring May’s flowers.’ So, we’re really looking forward to this new season.