Ashridge Update

Life at Ashridge has been busy as usual since the beginning of 2014, last month went by like a flash – no January blues for me!

Me in the Dry Garden

Aerial shots of the Dry Garden



There’s a common misconception about gardening that the winter months are the dull, slow time of season when there isn’t much to do – actually the opposite is true. When plants go into their dormant stage it gives those looking after them time to get everything ready for the season ahead – preparation is key for a successful spring. As Benjamin Franklin said “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.

Me and the team at Ashridge have been giving every single area in the gardens a thorough blitz, by pruning, weeding, raking and mulching. We’ve also spent time getting the glasshouse in order before the summer bedding is sown. The floor has been weeded, the glass cleaned, the pots washed and stacked. . . we even put down new rolls of capillary matting on all the benches!

Tidy glasshouse!


Before weeding


After weeding


As well as working I also went on my first monthly garden visit, as part of the training provided at Ashridge. I went to Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire (not Wales!!) with the other trainees and our supervisor last week.

We chose to go there because it is famous for its spectacular winter garden – and we weren’t disappointed. The combination of colourful and fragrant plants and sheer vibrancy of the garden blew me away; it was incredible.There was such a mixture of plants used, winter favourites like sarcococca, daphne, cornus, rubus, betula, chimonanthus, hellebore, cotoneaster, euonymus, mahonia, vibernum, cyclamen, galanthus, narcissus, hamamelis, corylus, prunus, callicarpa. . . the list was endless. My phone ran out of battery because I took so many photos!

You can see my favourite shots throughout this post, including me surrounded by beautiful birch trees. The head gardener at Anglesey Abbey cleans the bark with a pressure washer to keep it looking as white as it does. If that’s not dedication then I don’t know what is!

The Abbey


The Winter Garden


















Betula utilis



I am looking forward to this month’s garden visit, we have yet to decide where to go so any suggestions are welcome!

That’s all my news for now, I hope you have enjoyed this latest update. To finish here is my quote of the moment: “No life is without difficulties; no garden is without weeds.” 🙂

garden quote



  1. avian101

    Very interesting post Becky, reminds me that I have to prune one little tree that I planted 2 years ago. A dwarf Myrtle Crape (Purple), last year looked so beautiful in bloom. Nice work Becky! 🙂


    • Thank you HJ! Those myrtles are lovely, I love how vivid their flowers are. Thanks again 😀 x


  2. This s a fabulous post Becky, full of optimism and hope. I love the glasshouse all clean and fresh, prepared or the next season. I enjoyed all your photos and those beautifully cared for birch trees are quite amazing. Would you give me permission to show the photo of the trees to a blogging friend who has such talent for writing poems from photographs. No problem if youd rather not but no harm in asking.

    Love xxx


    • Of course you can Christine! I’d love to read the poem if they write one 🙂 very pleased you enjoyed this post, thank you for reading and commenting! Hugs xxx


      • Thanks Becky! I will pass it on to her and will report back if she writes a poem! Xx


      • Great, thank you! 😀 x


  3. Your photography of the Winter Garden at Anglesey is wonderful, the colours are particularly spectacular. Winter is so beautiful and you have captured it perfectly. I particularly love the Hamamelis, Cornus and of course the Hellebore. -:) x


    • It was a breath-taking garden, a celebration of wonderful, winter plants. I have a soft spot for hellebores, the ground was carpeted with them much to my delight!
      Thank you for you lovely comment 😀 x


  4. Mirada

    Great quote! And now I see the original photo which Christine forwarded to me–fabulous. The Abbey is so beautiful, very old–it looks similar to a building used in a movie, but I’m not sure which one–maybe “The Others”, with Nicole Kidman?


    • Mirada

      PS–I really love the names for these plants! Very romantic.


      • Thank you! I am useless when it comes to films, although properties like the Abbey are sometimes used for filming programmes like period dramas. Thanks again! 😀 x


  5. Mirada
    • Thank you! I’ve just read it, it complements the photo perfectly 😀 x


  6. Becky, your photos are lovely, and it’s very refreshing to hear a young person’s enthusiasm in their work! 🙂


    • Thank you Donna, that means a lot! I can’t help being enthusiastic, I have the best job in the world! 😀 xx


  7. The winter garden was surprisingly beautiful. Thank you for sharing the photos.


    • It’s my pleasure, winter can be just as colourful as the other season! Thanks very much for your comment 🙂 x


  8. Lovely Becka! Those Birch trees are haunting and must be filled with stories! You will laugh at my suggestion but I highly recommend Giverny! I was there in May and I don’t believe any garden could rival it. 🙂


    • I have heard of Giverny and read about Claude Monet’s garden – one of the many places I would love to visit abroad! Thank you for the read and comment Lea 😀 xx



  1. Birch Trees | ADRIFT in AFTERTHOUGHTS
  2. Ashridge Update | Life of a Plant Lover

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