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December in Gunnersbury Park

Seasons change, but there is never a quiet season in the park. Find out what our gardening team in the run up to winter.

We have started planting arid loving plants on the sunny rock garden. This garden is a great example of arid loving plants that a totally drought tolerant. These plants are from arid/desert regions of the world and have developed adaptations to survive in extreme conditions of heat and can usually tolerate severe sub-zero temperatures too.

The one challenge growing them here is that they are fine in the drier south of the country, but they really do not like winter wet. We try and overcome this by planting them in lots of gravel and giving them a good gravel mulch, which helps!

The sunny rocky is an experimental bed to see what arid and drought tolerant plants we can grow all year round.

All these plants need a full sun-baked site for as much of the day as possible, so a South, South West facing site is idea for them. Some of the new plants pictured here are Beschorneria yuccoides, Aloes, Hottentot fig or Carpobrotus edulis, Echiums, Eryngium horridum, Lampranthus spectablis and Sempervivum or the Houseleek. 

budding plants lined up waiting to be planted
sunny rocky bed

Meanwhile in the Italian Garden parterres we have been planting 48 roses - the variety is Rosa Iceberg which is a stunning white rose that flowers all year long.

Rosa Iceberg rose in a pot outside in the park
wheelbarrow holding roses ready for planting

Behind the Orangery the old veteran Garrya Elliptica the Silk Tassel Bush has had a restorative prune to reinvigorate it.

These are stunning winter flowering shrubs and this one could easily be a hundred years old.

tree in the process of having branches removed

Our Nature Trail Volunteer group have just completed a herculean task; planting 4000 Narcissi in the Potomac triangle.

We chose four varieties of bulbs which will flower at different times from March through to May. This will give us a longer flowering season then had we used just one variety of bulb.

The bulbs were planted randomly in groups of 3 and 5 to give a naturalistic feel.

It was tough going as each bulb had to be individually planted and each one is about the size of an onion.

Nature Trail Volunteer group digging in the park
Nature Trail Volunteer group digging in the park
garden volunteers standing around a van on tea break




It’s not all work though! We had tea and biscuits to help keep us going!

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