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Head gardener at Burghley House, Joe Whitehead, speaks to the Rutland Group of The Hardy Plant Society

The other Tuesday on a very wild and cold evening the
Rutland Group of The Hardy Plant Society had a very entertaining evening and heard Joe Whitehead talk about his challenging job as head gardener at Burghley House near Stamford, writes Pat Woolston.

Burghley is a developing garden and Joe and his team of seven gardeners and volunteers are busy clearing and renovating many areas of the site so there are more areas of interest for the public to

At one time 140 gardeners were employed to keep the vistas and kitchen garden in shape!

The opening of the South Gardens at Burghley House
The opening of the South Gardens at Burghley House

The team has 30 acres of grass to manage which now has 18 species of orchids including the pyramid bee orchid. Yellow rattle, the parasite of grass, has been used to enable wild flowers to grow. They have also had 3,000 David Austin roses to deadhead!

Several features were covered including the famous 250 year-old oak circle. The area was being revamped with extra compost and new planting.Trees were constantly being assesses for damage and needed attention.

Joe Whitehead, head gardener at Burghley House
Joe Whitehead, head gardener at Burghley House

In February the rose bed was labour intensive with hard pruning to 15cms. Cow manure was applied and seaweed feed and organic garlic spray will be used later.

So much has to be maintained including the kitchen garden, plus new areas being revitalised with 20,000 plants including 1,000 herbaceous ones.

The Garden of Surprises will be given a facelift this autumn. The Sculpture Garden will have a different theme as usual.

The aim is to make the gardens of Burghley a special place to visit.

The next meeting of the group will be on Tuesday, March 10, at 7.30pm when we will hear about another famous garden, Cally Gardens in south west Scotland, which was bought in 2018 by Kevin Hughes, who is well-known to us as a nursery man.

Details of the group can be found at www.hpsrutland.btck.co.uk

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