Meet Sharon, the longest-serving full-time staff member at Capel Manor Gardens. Sharon’s journey started as an apprentice with us 33 years ago. For Sharon, spring is the most enchanting season, a time when the Gardens awaken from their winter slumber. Among the many plants that grace Capel Manor Gardens, Sharon has a particular soft spot for Coleus, drawn to their colourful and captivating foliage and has a real passion for Salvias.
Sharon shares why the Walled Garden holds the top spot as her favourite garden.
At Capel Manor Gardens, we take pride in cultivating our bedding plants from cuttings and seeds. Some plants, carefully nurtured by Sharon require several years to mature before they can grace our displays. Among them you will find the beautiful Zinnia Profusion Red Yellow Bicolour. Starting as a cheerful yellow and gradually fading into shades of orange and pink, these flowers present an ever-evolving spectrum of colours. To accentuate their brilliance, Sharon has added a backdrop of striking deep mahogany foliage for height and contrast. In the foreground, cineraria maritima ‘Silver Dust’ provides a polished finish. What is Sharon’s secret to maintaining such stunning borders? A lot of weeding, watering, deadheading and precise edging ensure that they remain at their best even after the blooms have faded. The dark and silvery foliage continues to captivate, providing year-round interest.
As you continue to venture through the paths of the Walled Garden you will discover a range of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Apples hang heavy on the trees, raspberries cling to their vines and Japanese bitter oranges ripen on their spiky branches. Along the brick walls, figs and kiwis grow, ripening for the picking in the summer months.
Plants are not the only things that can be found in the Walled Garden. Capel Manor Gardens is also home to three cats: Sid, Polly, and Bagpuss. While Polly enjoys basking in the warm greenhouses, Sid faithfully shadows Sharon as she tends to the gardens while Bagpuss greats the visitors and students.
Sharon’s skills extend to the Tropical Flower Bed which can be found next to the Manor House. Each summer, she lovingly tends to this bed, replanting it with the same exotic plants. Towering, black and green banana plants create the dramatic backdrop, followed by a lush tapestry of flowering and non-flowering plants, including Eucalyptus, Senna and Asclepias curassavica ‘Silky Red.’ The bed is adorned with a vibrant border of golden marigolds. This enchanting display will flourish and bloom until November when the plants will, once again, be removed and maintained in our greenhouse ready for the following year.
Sharon’s dedication to Capel Manor Gardens is a testament to the timeless beauty and wonders that can be found within our grounds.