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by Anne Chambers
We are now open and after the very hot weather at the end of March the garden is well ahead of last year. However as usual in England things can change very quickly as we are now having frosts and some much welcome rain. Luckily our magnolias escaped frost damage and flowered incredibly well but faded far too quickly with the heat. The daffodils down the drive look marvellous and the new Mount Hood that I added last autumn have all flowered well.
It is always a very good discipline to get the garden ready for opening and I always feel that if there is not a great deal in flower at least it must look well cared for and neat and tidy! Philip has worked his magic with the grass and Tina has produced some excellent plants for sale so we are all ready for another season.
The trilliums are always much admired in April and we have various groups dotted throughout the garden. They like having shady woodland conditions but the ones in the fountain garden are thriving in full sun. They do seed and clump up but are still difficult and slow to accumulate so as a result do not appear for sale very often.
The tulips and bluebells are well ahead, and although not full out must be three weeks early. I have noticed that some of the tulip bulbs have been dug up and am not sure if it is pheasants or a rabbit which has somehow negotiated our Colditz like defences! We have found a burrow on the steep banks which we are keeping an eye on but Johnny’s dusk patrols have not yet succeeded.
I always love this time of year with the vivid greens and everything just beginning to appear and burst into leaf. It reminds me of the Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy. When we visited recently we were struck by his series of paintings depicting the transition in the countryside from week to week over several months. I feel the same is happening in the garden here at Kiftsgate before my very eyes!