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Trott's Garden tour guide and gardener Leanne Smith at work.

By Mick Jensen

Winter is fast approaching and gardener Leanne Smith is flat out pruning, tidying and bedding down Trott’s Garden.

She’s been back on deck since level 3 restrictions were introduced and is working solo.

“It is very quiet here at the moment and I’m missing the many volunteers who usually help out in the garden.”

She said volunteers helped her with mowing duties and general gardening and were a sociable crowd, but they would not be returning until given the go-ahead.

Now was a busy time for her and all about tidying up the garden for winter.

Her biggest job was cutting back the 110 metres of perennial borders.

The borders are various shades of brown at the moment and quite different from their summer colours.

The border work was likely to take a couple of months, on and off, and all the waste would be composted.

“The compost I’m putting on this year came from the cuttings from last year, so it’s all about recycling.”

The sizeable compost heap at Trott’s will grow bigger over the coming weeks.

Joining the pile will be large piles of leaves collected from around the 4ha garden, and other garden waste.

A ride-on mower is used to clear up the bulk of the leaves.

Leanne said Trott’s was a four season garden and a tranquil spot with plenty of bird life.

Her favourite season was summer, when she also enjoyed taking visitors on formal garden tours.

Trott’s also features a red border area, woodland areas developed around curves and English-inspired formal gardens.

There are around 50 species of magnolia, 70 kinds of maples and varieties of dogwood, azaleas, and over 500 rhododendrons, all underplanted with woodland plants and ground cover.

Summer is the busiest month for visitor numbers, helped by the fact that Trott’s Garden is recognised as a Garden of International Significance and has been awarded six stars by the New Zealand Gardens Trust.

International visitors usually accounted for between 20 and 30 per cent of summer garden tour numbers, and a dollar value that was higher again, said Trott’s Garden marketing and administrator Nicola Walker.

She said international numbers were expected to drop sharply because of the impact of Covid-19.

The charitable trust that owned the gardens would look at and plan the next season to see how the drop off in overseas tourists could be filled, she said.

The garden would reopen in September for garden tours and walk up garden visitors, but venue bookings and inquiries can be made year round.