Grass Clippings

Wet, wet, wet

Winter 2019 is turning out to be  the wettest I have experienced at the Club and ranks high on the scale over the last ten years. Since September we have had over 10’’ of rain which we estimate to be in the region of 83,000 m3 tons deposited over the estate of the Club. Enough to fill 34 Olympic swimming pools or the equivalent to 276,666 standard bathtubs. A plea to the golfers from the greenkeepers – please ensure that you make conscious effort to repair pitch marks on greens. In the current conditions, the greens will mark easily and the longer pitch marks are left unattended, the greater the damage is caused to the greens. Please ensure as a golfer you have a pitch repair tool on hand especially during winter play. Despite the rain, Ashley and the team are doing everything possible to keep the course playable in the current conditions. At times of excessive rain, the course may need to close to allow the surfaces to drain and recover. Damage is caused by foot traffic on a saturated surface compacting the ground, driving out air spaces between soil particles, resulting in greater compaction and poor drainage and possible turf loss. Abbotts have managed to plough on with the bunker re-building and are progressing well with the project. They are currently completing the revetting work on the faces and soon completing the stage where they are re-turfing the slopes before sanding the bunkers. There is some tracking from the heavy plant machines in the roughs, but this will be addressed when they have completed the task and we can sand and top dress any work routes in these areas once they have departed, as we have done in the previous two years of the project.

Landscaping and gardens

We have also progressed to the landscape project’s planting phase of the works on the course by holes 4/7 and the 14th green. The planting plan has been laid out and the pots are being planted by the greens and gardens team. Led by Steve Hutchens, the team are making progress working in bad conditions but are succeeding in getting the plants in the grounds as fast as possible. Once the planting phase is completed we shall place gravel on the bed surface to hide the geo-membrane surface and dress the bed so it’s more appealing. The woodland work around the course is almost complete for this year and we shall continue with the log wall build and installation of the new toilet facility on the course, by the 8th tees, in the next few weeks.

2020 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has given a sneak peek into the show gardens features for the 2020 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, with sustainable elements, organics and urban tree planting among their features. Mediterranean plants are out of favour after biosecurity issues such as the threat of plant disease Xylella caused import problems in 2018-19. ‘In’ are the Far Eastern gardens style, with gardens from Nepal, China, Japan and Thailand all featuring. Mediterranean gardens have fallen from fashion, it seems and there will probably be no Southern European or Middle Eastern gardens this coming year. The key words of ‘sustainable sourcing’ will play heavy as the mantra for next year’s event as designers across all categories have already taken steps to be more sustainable in their garden designs. An increased number of participants are sourcing their plants and materials from within the UK, incorporating planting schemes which benefit wildlife and the environment. Andy Sturgeon’s 2019 best in show M&G garden was ‘not floriferous or full of colour’ and next year will feature similar trends of shade, texture, unusual plants, herbaceous, shrubs, ferns and grasses as well as grades of green for 2020. The Harris Bugg garden will offer ‘a planting palette defined by resilient plants suitable for the climatic challenges of urban space’. Matt Keightley’s Royal Army Medical Corps garden (pictured right) is being built by Rosebank Landscapes – he says: ‘A largely medicinal-based planting palette with a number of herbs and plants used for all kinds of remedies’. SSFA will also present a military-themed garden and further charity gardens are from Animal Health Trust and Burdett Trust for Nursing. UK regional marketing schemes Welcome to Yorkshire, Marketing Manchester and Welwyn Garden City 100 are among gardens to have dropped out late in the process. But international planting will be prominent. The show will host a new floristry competition in the pavilion and designed houseplant ‘studio’ exhibit in the Ranelagh Gardens area, housed in five Malvern Garden Buildings. A new theatre seating 100 people will be situated in Main Avenue Studios, formerly the home of the NAFAS Floral Arrangers competition. Allwoods will celebrate its 110th anniversary, while the Federation of British Bonsai Societies will be celebrating 60 years.


Frosting up
Frost is expected this weekend and looking after tender plants in the garden needs to be considered as the cold weather kicks in. When it is not practical to lift or move tender plants, the best way to protect them is to wrap them up. In exposed or cold areas, even relatively hardy plants may need protection. Use straw to protect tender crowns of tree ferns and ground shrubs which have a tight core of succulent leaves (such as Agaves – the Century Plant). White, geotextile wrapped around tender subjects and tied will allow light to enter but keep harsh winds and temperatures off leaves that can be scoured by cold temperatures. Bubble wrap is also useful for this process. For containers, ensure you lift them from direct contact with the ground and lace feet under them so they drain well and do not become water bound. Build up a knowledge of your garden and where are the cold spots and where the wind blows cold, avoid planting in these areas with none but hardy planting is possible and keep sheltered sunny positions for the more susceptible tender planting. As usual, remember our feathered friends who need all the help they can at this time of the year.

Peter Bradburn | Course and Grounds Manager |