9th Nov 2023

One of the most frequent questions we are asked here at Exbury Gardens is ‘what do you do in the winter?’ The answer is quite a lot! One of our biggest priorities in the month of November is to lift most of our tender perennials and move them into the safety of the glasshouse and pot them up for overwintering. We also take extra precautions by taking plenty of cuttings in early autumn to ensure we have some young plants ready to go out next spring once the threat of frost has passed. Some of the larger perennials are just too big to move and therefore have to take their chances and remain outside. We protect the rhizomes of plants such as gingers and cannas etc with a thick layer of mulch as this helps to reduce the risk of frost penetrating underground.

Another important part of looking after the 230-acre woodland garden is managing our tree collection. This involves annual inspections and the removal of dead and damaged branches and any precautionary tree work. As a semi-maritime garden, we can be vulnerable to gales. Recently, we were very lucky that we had no damage during the latest storm Ciaran.

We also have a wide range of other projects that we can crack on with whilst the Garden is closed. Some of this is the renovation and enhancement of some key areas, we may be doing anything from planting new trees to clearing ditches and some of the more mundane routine tasks such as maintaining pathways and garden infrastructure. As you can imagine there are also plenty of fallen leaves to collect and recycle into valuable leaf mould.

Propagation doesn’t stop at this time of year as the wet summer has created a wealth of seeds to be collected from our rare and unusual tree and shrub collection. Some of these will be cleaned and kept in the fridge to break their dormancy and others will be freshly sown.

There is plenty of other work for us to be getting on with and we are already thinking about prepping the Garden ready for opening next spring.

November blog