Of tractor wheels and spring delights

The new year brought both early spring pleasures as well as troublesome weather for the staff at RHS Garden Harlow Carr

Well, Happy New Year to you all! The New Year here at Harlow Carr started off well enough: lots of bonhomie flying around - much joviality and exchange of good wishes. Although the garden has been open every day except Christmas Day, not everyone has been present and correct so it’s good to get us all back together. The weather was also behaving and the sun shone with a quiet warmth.

The wet weather at Harlow Carr was too much for the tractorThen problems appeared when we started to use the tractor. We had the spading machine mounted on the back of it, trying to prepare the area for the new shelter belt we are making in the arboretum.

All was going swimmingly until we got the it stuck in a deep rut. Both front and back wheels got all caked up and it rather ungracefully ground to a halt (left). Sometime later however, it was all sorted with the aid of our big Telehandler and two eight-tonne strops (strong ropes to you and me) - phew!

Whilst the woodland team continued to prepare the area for our mass tree planting later on this week, the rest of the floral team were busy starting the annual cut back of beds that had been left standing. This is earlier than we normally like to do it, but we have so many beds that we have to start somewhere. The team were quite happy: they were bathed in winter sunshine and quite sheltered as they cut back the stems and tidied through the beds. It is always amazing to see them all shorn down, when in the summer they look so full and bursting at the seams.

The small flowered narcissus (Hoop petticoat daffodil)sunning itself in the Alpine HouseAmy continues to put on a dazzling display in the Alpine House and the dianthus and the tiny daffodils (Narcissus bulbocodium subsp. praecox var. paucinervis - I always think the smallest blooms seem to have the longest names!) are looking fabulous, pictured right. So if you have time and want to spot a little bit of spring, do pop in.

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