News from our Head Gardener

Summer Colour & Garden Design

 It is always good to look around various gardens at this time of year to see what colour schemes you might like for your garden. It’s especially helpful if you’re creating a new garden or just wanting to make changes.  There’s an abundance of colour in the striking tropical herbaceous borders, which flourish with bright Canna lilies, yellow Rudbeckia sullivantii 'Goldsturm', Dahlias and for structured foliage we have planted large leafed Rheums, palm trees such as Butia capitata also known as the Jelly Palm, Trachycarpus fortunei, Musa Bajoo – bananas.

 The very unusual Tamarilla, known also as the Tree Tomato have caused quite a stir in the gardens this year as they are seldom seen, ours are about 8 feet tall now. We over winter them in our polytunnels, the fruit starts off green then turns a deep red looking like a pointed tomato.

 If you are looking for colourful plants ‘Salvias’are a popular choice, Salvia patens’ is a very popular bright blue and Salvia ‘greggiiis a pretty red one, ‘Salvia Hot Lips’ is white with red petals shaped as lips, they look good planted in pots, ‘Salvia Uliginosa’ with pale blue petals and long stems are ideal in an herbaceous border.

 Hedges of all types can add structure and shape to any garden design. The gardeners have been busy pruning and shaping the numerous hedges throughout the castle gardens and landscape including over the oak pergolas in the Collector Earl’s Garden where the HornbeamCarpinus Betulus hedge has taken shape and looks stunning now that it’s reached the top of the domed pergolas. Bit by bit it’s been tied in, pruned into shape in order to cover the oak timber frames on the top. It’s taken over 10 years, but well worth the wait! The arched windows below give our visitors exciting glimpses through to the tropical gardens and Oberon’s Palace beyond!

 Recently we created a ‘Cloud’ hedge from a rather overgrown Box ‘Buxus Sempervirens’ hedge. ‘Cloud’ or ‘Niwaki’ pruning is a known Japanese technique of cutting or shaping a tree or hedge, a form of topiary. In Britain cloud hedging is mostly found using Box or English Yew ‘Taxus baccata’. Historically, especially after World War I when so many large estates’ gardeners went off to war, on their return five years later they found their ancient hedges had collapsed and needed to be cut back into shape,  this in turn resulted in the hedges taking on a more rounded form leading to a cloud like formation. Good examples can be found at Hinton Ampner near Winchester, Audley End in Essex and Montacute House in Somerset, all of which still look stunning in their unusual forms. Here at Arundel Castle ours is younger but is already looking good within the castle grounds.

 Yew hedges in the castle walled gardens have also been re-shaped over the last 8 years to give structure and shape, the hedging along the English Herbaceous borders is a little more formal with sculptured tops and shaped balls at the base, giving a rather ‘Chippendale’ table leg effect, which defines each section and allows ones eye to wonder down the length of these lovely soft toned borders to the kitchen garden and apple archways at the end. In contrast the high Yew hedging around the Stumpery is slowly being pruned into spires; these reflect the stone spires of Arundel Cathedral that forms a backdrop to this part of the gardens. In the kitchen garden we have Box hedging around the beds, giving a protective border to the beds. The espalier apple arches and fan-trained pear trees, against the ancient walls, all add to the shape and structure.

 A few tips from the castle garden team:

Prune into shape  your hedges towards the end of the month and into September
Water and feed tomatoes regularly, remove any yellow leaves.
Lift your main crop potatoes.
Lift and dry your onions.
Finish summer pruning apples and pears.
Cut and dry herbs for winter use.



For further details on Arundel Castle opening times, prices and events, such as Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' in the Collector Earl’s Garden - 16 & 17 August go to

Cat in hat