Curator’s Plant of the Month – April 2018

With Spring ‘springing’ so late, the Daffodils were held back by almost 3 weeks, resulting in all the varieties flowering together, in what has undoubtedly been one of the best displays we have ever seen. If you haven’t seen them yet, don’t miss them – the Daffodils are not expected to last into May.

The late Daffodil season is now coinciding with other Spring blooms. Scores of wildflowers carpet the Arboretum floor, including Scilla, Wood Anemones, Fritillary, Violets and Primroses. Looming overhead, coloured mists created by hundreds of flowering trees and shrubs such as Magnolia, Cherry and Forsythia fill the air with delicate scents and colours ranging from whites to deep pinks and bright yellow.

Scilla at Thorp Perrow

Rather than feature one particular plant this month, our Curator, Faith gives you her


Spring is a busy time for gardeners, and here at Thorp Perrow we spend time in our borders removing leaves, debris and cutting back any old growth. Get it right now and you’ll be all set for the warmer months ahead.

Pay attention to your spring bulbs

Splitting Snowdrops at Thorp Perrow

Now is a great time to lift and divide bulbs which have finished flowering. Our dedicated grounds team and fantastic volunteers have been busy dividing our Snowdrops recently, ready to wow again next year. Take off any faded flowers and seed-heads and tease out the bulbs and their leaves and replant them individually about 60-75mm apart.

Mulching is important at this time of the year

Adding Mulch at Thorp Perrow

Spring is a good time to freshen up the soil and apply a little mulch to feed the soil and the plants. We add a mix of poultry manure and compost to our high-flower areas such as The Mound and the beds around the Tearoom. As you work through the border there’s still time to do a little dividing of perennials. Lift them, divide the crown and re place the plant in a smaller group or elsewhere, discarding the central part of the crown.

Plant new flowers and shrubs

Planting new trees at Thorp Perrow

Once your the garden is in shape and handled all of the old plants, it’s time to turn your attention to new plants. You should lean towards planting more perennials rather than annuals, because annuals have to be replaced every year. This means you’re making an investment in plants that will die every year and require replacement. Perennials, on the other hand, last for two to three years and usually survive winter frosts. At Thorp Perrow, we are very lucky to have such a fantastic stock of a range of different plants, that we can split and divide, especially Iris in the Bog Garden.

Add butterfly-friendly plants

Butterfly at Thorp Perrow

Plant nectar-rich flowers to attract butterflies and bring life to your garden all summer round. We have been adding Meconopsis to The Dell and Echinacea on The Mound. We also love the short-growing patio Buddleja ‘Buzz’, light and airy Verbena bonariensis, stunning Sedum ‘Matrona’ and any of the late summer flowering asters. For very best results, and lots more flowers, feed them regularly.

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