Although cute in appearance, rabbits can wreak havoc in the garden and can destroy hundreds of pounds worth of plants. We have a particular problem with rabbits at our hospice in Bicton Heath although we do get the occasional one over in Apley but with all the building work at the hospital we haven’t seen them for a while. Our patients love to see rabbits lolloping around the garden but these unstoppable eating machines have already made a considerable dent in our flower beds. So far this year they have munched their way through over 500 wall flowers and have taken a shining to the raised flower beds outside the patients’ bedrooms. It is not uncommon to see them sat on the side of 1m high planters happily nibbling away blissfully unaware of all the hard work that has gone into planting everything. Another favourite spot for the rabbits is the kitchen garden where they destroyed a large amount of produce last year.

We have now launched a military style campaign in a bid to outsmart the enemy and gain vital ground in the war between gardeners and rabbits. In an attempt to win the daily battle with the rabbits we have installed a new fence around the kitchen garden and main orchard. And to counteract their love of the raised flower beds we will be putting chicken wire around the top of the planters to try to protect the flowers. The war is far from over so for now the fight continues…….

As well as trying to rabbit-proof the gardens we have been busy working in the orchards feeding the fruit trees. At our Shrewsbury hospice we have a main orchard which contains a wide variety of fruit including apples, pears, plums and even quince. Recently we have also planted a second orchard, known as Bobby’s Orchard, which was planted in memory of a colleague who passed away suddenly in 2011. Members of staff and volunteers raised enough money to buy seven trees and a small bench. As we have only recently planted the trees in Bobby’s Orchard they will not bear fruit for a couple of years. We hope the more established main orchard will start producing fruit this year.

Alongside our army of volunteer gardeners we also have local companies and organisations visit the hospice to spend a day in our gardens helping out or working on a specific project. We recently had a team from Dyke Yaxley who helped resurface our Breidden walk laying an impressive six tonne of stone in just one day. If your company would like to spend a day helping in our gardens please get in touch

This week’s handy hints and tips….

When planting fruit trees you want them to establish strong, healthy routes so if the tree starts to bear fruit in the first couple of years remove it before it starts to develop. Once the roots have established by the third year you can let the fruits develop.

This is a great time of year to start planting seeds for summer crops in the greenhouse.

 

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