Storm Ciara, a No Dig Policy, Ferns Lodge and Another Grey Day

February has now passed us by, with visits by 3 storms and the largest quantity of rainfall for the month since records began…! Wellies at NGS garden Ferns Lodge are a must and Ghillie is wearing a permanent mud waistcoat as he roars around the garden at weekends.

This video shows just how grey the UK can look in February but also the fruits of our no dig policy with organic, home-grown compost spread over much of the top garden, which will give all those sleeping plants sustenance during the new spring and summer that will soon, we hope, be upon us.

The top garden compost is all on the garden and next year’s supply sleeps beneath horse manure from neighbours and a carpet rug! The new work area also has compost, the oldest of which has matured into a black, loamy material which looks wonderful. At a 150 steps from heap to garden, my weekend step count has shot up!

We have also been busy with the new woodland area next to the bottom meadow. Most things here are hand-raulic but there comes the time when gardening by digger is the only option, and using mats we have had a digger in and the area is cleared. The new plants are ordered, here and ready to go in with a little dryer weather and the mound in the centre makes for me, a lovely feature. In amongst it, we have ready to be planted – tree ferns, silver birch, multi stem silver birch, acer including one with a dramatic red stem, dog wood, bottle brush and lots else. Once established it will be epic!

Here and there peeping up are the signs of great promise – daffodils, crocuses, periwinkle, snowdrops and we also have camellia and azalea coming into bud. Everywhere there are signs of spring renewal and the birds are singing at full volume and getting ready for the new season.

More clearance has happened in what I fondly call the vegetable garden. In the real world it is a sea of mud, with a small Dutch barn at it’s centre and an enormous mound of rubbish… It is hard to see today what one day it might be, but this is much like the rest of Ferns Lodge garden and little by little it will transform itself into a lovely space to work in, relax in, and also from which to pick supper!

As I remove my boots and observe my webbed feet as well as hands, I remember that we look forward to another summer, hoping for a busy NGS opening and to gardening without rain!