As March unfolds at Goldstone Hall Hotel and Gardens we are poised between the last grasp of winter and the open hand of spring, with hope that much of our preparation will pay dividends.

Preparing the Soil

In the Goldstone vegetable garden, the farmyard manure that was brought in at the start of winter has been broken down and dug in. This will be raked to a fine tilth in preparation for direct seed sowing.  To ensure optimal growth for crops like brassicas that have been initially potted on, we carefully firm the soil around their designated planting area. Loose soil can hinder root establishment, so this step is crucial for their development.

Polytunnel Planting 

Amidst the warmth of the poly tunnel the first early potatoes have been planted.  At this stage they need to be kept watered so that they establish good sized tubers for the hotel restaurant.  Following closely behind will be the Pink Fir Apple, a Goldstone speciality.

Rhubarb Season

Rhubarb is the star of the moment.  Its bright red stems grow almost before our eyes and bring a welcome bite of spring flavour to the desserts that our head Chef Evan, produces for our guests dining in the Goldstone restaurant. We force some of our rhubarb using upturned terracotta pots to keep out the light.  The plant responds by putting on strong growth without large amounts of leaves.  This produces fresh stems that are a little sweeter than those grown in the open.

Tender Shoots

While warmer days beckon, frost remains a lurking threat. Our dahlias, nurtured within the poly tunnel’s protective confines, await their moment to shine. Basal cuttings offer a pathway to propagation, ensuring a bountiful display in the seasons to come. A stem is detached close to the base of the plant and placed into a well-drained compost and kept humid but not too wet.  Within a few weeks, they should develop roots and can then be transplanted to their permanent location. Once established, they will produce new tubers in time for winter. Many herbaceous perennials can also be propagated this way including phlox, delphiniums, leucanthemum and asters

Herbal Care

It’s the perfect time to tend to our herbs as well. Some of our mint plants may need dividing if they’ve spread too far or become less vigorous. Additionally, trimming and shaping them now will help maintain their unique appearance.

Perhaps the most exciting developments are happening in the herbaceous border where new growth is thrusting up from the gently warming soil.  Although the shoots are still small, they now need to be staked before they become too large and ungainly .  This can be done by pushing hazel sticks upright into the ground, tying in the stems in as they grow.  For plants with a sprawling habit like geraniums, twiggy pea sticks can be woven together to form a cage that will support the plant as it grows and spreads.  Though they may look a little obvious now, they will soon be covered as the plants grow and put on more foliage.

We have been treating the main lawn and other areas with an iron solution to feed the grass and to reduce the moss.  Once the lawn is growing strongly it can be scarified and new seed sown which will take readily in the space left by the departed moss.

Elsewhere the daffodils are springing up and look splendid in the wild flower area under the cherry trees and the woodland garden is coming into its own with erythroniums and crown imperials popping up with abandon.

Once you’ve had chance to take in all this activity why not wander back to the hotel where a well-stocked bar awaits!

Warm spring wishes from the Garden Team!

Upcoming Events at Goldstone

Friday Garden Tour

April 19 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

A Taste of Spring

April 23 @ 10:30 am - 3:00 pm

Friday Garden Tour

April 26 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Open Garden for NGS

May 15 @ 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

Planning and Planting Out

May 22 @ 9:30 am - 2:00 pm

Visit Goldstone

A Georgian manor house and restaurant with 12 comfortable bedrooms overlooking the rolling tree-strewn hills of the North Shropshire countryside. Boasting 5 acres of award-winning gardens, including a productive one-acre kitchen garden.

Located in the ‘golden garden triangle’ close to Wollerton Old Hall Garden, Hodnet Hall Gardens & Dorothy Clive Garden.  

A warm welcome awaits you.

Find out more about the hotel and garden opening times here.