Winter gardening tips to prepare for Spring from Bowood’s Head Gardener, David Glass

Now we are past the turning point of the new year it’s acceptable to dream about Spring. Almost imperceptibly the days are getting longer, and the first bulbs are starting to poke through. It’s a sight that never fails to warm the heart.

The weather might still be too cold to spend hours outdoors, but now is the time to start planning in earnest for the garden year ahead. Think about the structure of your space and what changes you would like to make in Spring.

Successes and failures of last summer

What were the successes and failures of last summer? Many of us spent a great deal longer on our gardens last year due to the pandemic, so maybe you just fancy changing things up. It’s also worth considering how you want your garden to look a year from now

Piet Oudolf’s Field

Whilst Bowood is a more classically inspired garden you could do worse than take a leaf out of ‘Piet Oudolf’s Field’ in nearby Somerset. He is the champion of growing perennials that also look good in winter. Bare stems and branches can still be beautiful if carefully chosen, for example.

Planting Planning

While you are planning, put in your orders for seeds and young bedding plants, the cut off is often the end of February. Check vulnerable plants protection against late frosts and make sure your staking hasn’t been damaged by the high winds we have had.

Tie up loose growth and make sure the older cord isn’t rubbing. If you grow early vegetables, we’d recommend you put cloches in places now to start warming up the ground.

Seasonal produce is at the heart of our menus so we always try to plan with this in mind. In our kitchen garden we’ll be sowing carrots, peas and beans as well as my favourite: beets.

Winter Pruning

Make sure you finish your winter pruning before any Spring growth gets seriously underway and most important of all don’t forget to feed the robin.

While you are outside enjoying that crisp winter air, make sure you keep an eye out for other wildlife. Roe deer are often spotted from the gardens and even the guest bedrooms.

Winter Birds

Across the sparse winter fields hares are always a magical sight, especially if they are boxing. One of my favourite UK mammals.

Look out too for the dynamic flight of the kestrel, they are normally spotted hovering over open country, body stock still but wings going like the clappers. They have a beautiful buff underside streaked with black.

If you are really lucky you might see even spot one of the county’s strangest birds: the woodcock. They love the damp woodlands around here but the RSPB have reported them in back gardens recently, possibly attracted by house lights. Large and short legged with a long beak they migrate from Finland and Russia to enjoy our warmer winters.

Bowood Gardens

The gardens here re-open on the 1st April.

Even better though will be one of my tours, including a sneak peek at the vertical garden within Lord and Lady Lansdowne’s normally private space.

Visit Bowood Gardens

Be Inspired by Bowood’s Glorious Gardens this Season…

Gardens really do come to life in spring. And, during this season, gardens have a rejuvenating effect on all who visit them. When people visit our beautiful gardens at Bowood, we see them becoming more mindful.

After all, there is something magical and even grounding about wandering through a garden during the spring season. It immediately brings you into the present moment. Hear the birds singing, see a range of flowers blooming and feel the wind on your cheeks.

Bowood Gardens offer you a true escape from fast-paced city life.

We have almost every period of English garden design in our glorious grounds. This means that our gardens offer an educational experience, as well as an opportunity to discover new plants and trees.

With the growing season in full swing—our gardeners have been working hard, building on the successes of last year, creating even more picturesque floral displays within the Bowood grounds.

This means that spending time in Bowood Gardens is nothing short of enchanting.

Not only do our gardens offer you the chance to enjoy beautiful sights, the following points of inspiration are perfect for your spring garden.

Point of Inspiration #1: Arboretum

Discover over 700 species of trees in Bowood’s Arboretum.

Although it was designed back in 1762 by “Capability” Brown, many of the Arboretum’s original features are still present now. And, this season, it is truly flourishing.

There has been much work carried out on the Arboretum over winter to keep it in top condition for spring. While the trees are still planted in order of their country of origin, some of the tree variations, you’ll have never seen before.

Can you spot the old favourite cedar tree? It’s the largest in Europe.

A fascinating visit.

Point of Inspiration #2: Private Walled Garden

It’s not every day you get to enjoy the pleasant surroundings of a private garden.

The walled garden is closed to walk ins, but open to groups and individuals booking an exclusive tour. There are various tour dates available this year. The first one takes place towards the end of April and will run until early October.

From spring onwards, you can expect the private garden to look magnificent. After last year’s wonderful achievements, our gardeners have been focusing on the senses of sight and smell. So, on first stepping into the garden, you should expect to be hit with a picturesque display of beautiful colours and notice a refreshing fragrance too.

We hope it encourages your own garden creativity.

This year’s tour options include:

  • A guided tour with tea and coffee on arrival and a two-course lunch served in the Stables Restaurant. Arrival 11:00am. Cost £35.00 per person.
  • A guided tour followed by cream Tea, served in the Stables Restaurant. Arrival 14:00pm. Cost £28.50 per person.

Whichever package you go for, the private walled garden will look equally magnificent. We’re sure you’ll have plenty of questions answered on your visit too

Point of Interest #3: The Woodland Gardens

The Woodland Gardens open on 19th April this year and close early June. The gardens are already blooming in time for the flowering season. Make the most of them this spring—they’re in excellent form.

Bowood’s “Walk of the Week” will continue this year, with new clearly signposted routes to be explored. On your wander, discover the 30 original hardy hybrids that were planted in 1854. They might be old, but they’re looking spectacular.

Parking will continue to be convenient, making sure the gardens are accessible. We look forward to welcoming you to a hot drink and delicious homemade cake here too.

Victoria sponge is always a favourite.

Point of Inspiration #4: The Herbaceous Border

Keen gardeners will be inspired by our herbaceous border this season. In fact, you don’t have to be an avid gardener to be impressed with this 70ft long and 8ft deep herbaceous border. All the family will enjoy looking at this lovely sight.

This spring, the border is extremely colourful and bound to capture your imagination as you journey around our grounds.

You’ll notice that our gardeners have also been working hard on maintaining the border throughout winter.

Point of Inspiration #5: The Terrace Gardens

Bowood Terrace Gardens continue to bring a taste of Italy to Bowood’s very English gardens.

Although a summer visit would promise blooming roses, a spring visit to the Terrace Gardens this year promises an equally tranquil experience.

They’re particularly fragrant this season and you’ll, no doubt, be able to spot the Terrace Gardens’ cherished ornaments.

Why not take some time out on the upper terrace, look at the views…breathe…and relax?

Bowood’s Glorious Garden Get-Away

There is no better time to stay in our luxury hotel than in spring, when evenings are light, and flowers are blooming.

What’s more, our Glorious Garden Get-Away can leave you feeling inspired for the gardening season ahead.

The Bowood Garden get-away includes a stay in our luxury overnight accommodation, breakfast, a three-course meal, and two-course lunch in the Shelbourne Restaurant, a tour of the Private Walled Garden, use of our spa facilities, as well as complimentary access to Bowood House, Terrace Gardens, Arboretum, and Woodland Gardens.

If you are looking for garden inspiration, you’ll find it at Bowood this spring.