Carpet Beds Are Go

Well, it’s that time of year again when the carpet beds are being planted up. During the winter months Karen works out two designs, one for each bed.

This year the themes are “Roses Return to Cragside”, celebrating our new addition to the garden – a double bed of floribunda and climbing roses. For this design she has chosen a trellis work intertwined with climbing roses.

The second design is based on our Archimedes Screw, which is also a new addition to the estate. The Archimedes Screw will generate electricity to power the lights in Cragside House, bringing working hydroelectricity back to Cragside as Lord Armstrong invented. This design shows two Archimedes Screws flowing to the centre of the bed to a glowing light bulb in the centre.

As I mentioned earlier, Karen is responsible for these beds. After coming up with her designs, she then decides what plants she will need to use and how many of each. She then grows most of the plants from seed, some are what we store every winter in cold frames and the rest are bought in from a specialist supplier.

So, traditionally from as soon after the 1st June, (this year work commenced 3rd June) Karen marks out her bed and starts her planting. This is where I come in…… for the duration of the planting of the two beds I become Karen’s assistant. I prep all of the plants which we store, removing dead leaves, trimming stalks to size and removing flowers and ‘babies’.  Some of the other plants require splitting into small clumps and for the rest, I pop the plug plants out of their trays which allows Karen to plant them out quicker.

Just some of the plants to be prepared…….


From start to finish the beds can be planted between 4 to 6 weeks depending on the complexity of the design and weather conditions.

Below are a few photos of what we have achieved so far.

The beds at the start of June


Marking out the words on the bottom bed


Planting out Echeveria and Pyrethrum on the top bed


So far so good.


I’ll keep you posted as to how we are coming along and pictures of when it is finished too.

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