Getting wrapped up at Arundel Castle for winter

WITH the sudden drop in temperature the Arundel Castle garden team are getting wrapped up ready for winter!

Wednesday, 27th October 2010, 9:54 am

In the Collector Earl’s Garden we are beginning to wrap the less hardy subtropical plants such as Butia Capitata – the jelly palm, Musa basjoo – bananas and the stunning Dicksonia Antarctica – Tasmanian Tree Fern which means the garden is taking on yet another whole new look, with its rather surreal shapes (a good stage setting for Hallowe’en - especially at dusk) you may wonder if you have discovered some new art form!

To wrap up the plants we use rolls of fleece and cut it to the size and shape that fits the plant, you can buy jackets of fleece for plants and pots from most garden centres to make it easier to put your plants to bed for the winter months, after last year’s harsh winter we’re not taking any chances!

In the organic kitchen garden we have gathered in the last of our pear and apple crops and yet it is still alive with autumn produce, the first of our Jerusalem artichokes have been lifted and sent up to the castle restaurant team, they have made an adventurous “Stinging Nettle Soup” which has been on the menu to coincide with Arundel’s first food festival and has proved to be popular.

This will help the garden team to keep the nettles down, but we still keep some for the butterflies!

On the compost heap Issy McKinley, our kitchen garden horticulturalist, has grown a large selection of Pumpkins, Gourds and Squashes which are now being harvested and on show in the Vine House as well as being used in the castle kitchens.

Gourds are best stored in an airy, frost and nibble free zone; we have Tilly the castle cat protecting ours from the nibblers!

Luckily our cold frames back onto the warm bricks of the Tropical House and provide a perfect growing condition for winter salads, currently sporting the spicy “Red Frills” mustard, mizina and a selection of rocket varieties.

The “Ruby and Bright Lights” Swiss chard looks striking in the kitchen garden, giving that extra colour now that the nasturtiums have been hit by the first frost.

A few tips from the castle garden team:

Roses – Shorten the stems of rose bushes by about half to reduce the danger of wind rocking the roses through late autumn and winter months.

Lawns – Raise the height of your cutting blade and mow less as the growth of the grass slows down.

Reduce the number of hiding places for snails to ensure they don’t venture forth and attack your young seedlings in the spring.

Happy Gardening!