March at Norfolk School of Gardening - Welcoming Spring Sunshine

March at Norfolk School of Gardening - Welcoming Spring Sunshine

All classes are cancelled. But the gardening continues, as spring flourishes and the Walled Garden gets attention.

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What a difference a week makes! The whole world seems to have been turned on its head and like all of you we have been stopped in our tracks by the latest, rapidly changing, advice and rules relating to Covid-19. We have of course cancelled all courses for the foreseeable future, and sad as that is, especially for the first Certificate in Practical Horticulture students who were three weeks away from graduation, it is absolutely necessary in order to ensure social distancing and slow down the spread of the virus. What has not stopped is the onward march of spring. In fact, as the news has got worse and the rules more draconian the weather has got better. We know it won’t last, but this has been a glorious spring week and we have felt so grateful for bright, warm sunshine on our backs as we have gardened. What a gift from nature when we needed it most.

We may have had to close the School for the moment, but we will still need to keep the Walled Garden going in order for it to be ready when course participants return. The influx of new plants over the coming weeks are being planted but we need to lift more turf this week to create more beds and borders. When we arrived in the Walled Garden just over a year ago the very first turf lifted was for the stock bed, a kind of holding bay for plants we knew we would need over the coming months. We now plan to move this bed to the new nursery area, and to turn the original bed into a mixed herbaceous border with climbers trained on the wall behind it. We will use the coming weeks to begin this process and will share photos on social media if you would like to follow our progress.

Many of you will be rapidly making plans for your garden as most other activities become impossible and you are not alone. We are looking to grow more veg than originally expected and if the empty racks of seeds in the local nursery are anything to go by, we are not the only ones! One thing is absolutely certain, whatever is going on beyond our garden hedge or terrace or balcony or windowsill, growing things is good for us. If Covid-19 had to happen we are so grateful it was at this time of year when we can find some solace in spring and all it brings.

We don’t know how long this crisis will last but we would love to hear from you if you are interested in any of the courses we offer. We will add you to our mailing list and keep you posted when things return to normal.


Plant of the Week


Viburnum x carlcephalum or Fragrant Snowball in bloom

Viburnum x carlcephalum

It is easy to see why the common name for this deciduous shrub is Fragrant Snowball. It has broadly oval leaves which turn a lovely shade of red in autumn. But at this time of year it is the large rounded trusses crowded with pink buds which draw our attention: they gradually open to reveal sweetly fragrant, pink-tinged white flowers. This Viburnum grows well in most moderately fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soils.


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