Whist our season ticket holders can enjoy the garden’s changes at first hand, less regular visitors are often unaware of why and how we are evolving. We try to address this with newsletters, signage and our team of highly knowledgeable volunteers, but with so much going on it can be increasingly difficult to provide information, alongside tending a constantly developing garden – but we do aim to do so, where at all possible.
Those same knowledgeable volunteers have achieved an enormous amount of replanting in recent months. The Decennium is complete and I am particularly pleased that Miscanthus Cindy has found a home in a prominent corner of the border. Cindy (image below) is a selection from a seedling that arose in my own, personal, garden and its soft pendulous flowers certainly deserved their own place at Knoll.
A significant section of Long Walk has also been replanted, as well as the border approaching our glorious Ginko tree. It will be interesting to watch the new plants as they become established.
At the top of the garden is another success story. Melica uniflora Alba (image below) is a wonderfully dainty, grass that is proving very popular with its small floaty flowers contrasting beautifully with its fresh green leaves. The nursery could sell literally hundreds of Melica plants but, despite it thriving in the garden it is currently proving impossible to grow commercially! Proof again that nature will take its own course despite our best attempts!
Art in nature
Looking beyond new plantings, this summer also heralds the arrival of Knoll’s first artist-in-residence. Inga Street visited earlier in the year and fell in love with the garden, which she describes as ‘simply magical’. With work in collections in the UK and overseas, Inga is currently fascinated by branching shapes and forms and we hope her time at Knoll will result in an exhibition later in the year. She is now a regular visitor in the garden, so do look out for her when you visit.
Counting the cost
Another regular garden visitor is our new bumble bee surveyor. There can be few people who remain unaware of the important role bees play in pollination – yet all too often it is assumed that the honey bee does all the work. In fact our 24 species of bumble bee are just as important, if not more so, than the single species of honey bee. Rowena Jecock has now started a regular count at Knoll as part of the work of our associated charity, the Knoll Gardens Foundation and we are looking forward to collating her data alongside that of our existing butterfly, dragonfly, moth and bird counts.
The counting will continue apace in August when a whole team of wildlife experts come together at Knoll for the Foundation’s Garden Wildlife Survey. Now in its fourth year this survey never fails to remind me how much there is still to learn. The enthusiasm of our visiting experts also make it so easy to fall under their spell as you absorb a little of their endless knowledge.
Everyone is welcome to join our annual Garden Wildlife Survey which this year takes place on 8 August. Regardless of age or experience the survey provides the perfect opportunity to discover more about the vital relationship between our garden plants, Knoll’s naturalistic style and our visiting and resident wildlife.