Well, another mixed bag of weather this month with still more snow forecast for this weekend. I think we're quite lucky here in the south east of England as we do tend to get off lightly compared to the west coast. So fingers crossed that we escape the worst again this weekend.
I am starting this month with the wonderful Oak tree in the small field adjacent to the car park. A tree that goes largely unnoticed because of it's position. The first photo is one from April 2013 showing it with all its branches in place. The large one to the lower left was removed some years age and unfortunately the recent bad weather has caused further damage to the central trunk, photos 2 and 3. It will need some 'TLC' to recover and I'm sure that James and the team have a plan for that.
For most of the month it has felt like spring has arrived with the daffodils now putting on a glorious display. They are everywhere in the garden. In the Alpine Meadow, photo 4. In the Rock garden, photo 5 and in the Arboretum, photo 6. The hellebores are vying for attention too, here on the front lawn, photo 7 and also in the border that runs along side the New River Lawn, photo 8. This is a lovely spot for them as they are slightly raised up so you can enjoy the beauty within the flower.
Elsewhere, the crocuses have continued to flower well, photo 9. They have provided an important source of food for the bees and other insects that believe spring has arrived. The snowdrops are still flowering around the garden too. The new collection planted in front of the Peach House has settled in well and this snowdrop Galanthus ‘Staffan’ is one of the later ones to flower. This is one of the oldest cultivars dating back to 1858.
Inside the Peach House the blossom on the peach & nectarine trees is delightful, photos 11 and 12. they are pollinated every other day using a rabbit's foot. Shown here with the sun shining through the windows I can imagine sitting here just enjoying the beauty around me and letting the world pass by.
Onto the Glasshouses and another beauty is in full flower. The Geranium, maderense, photo 13. This has been grown from seeds collected on the trip that members from the Bowles Society went on in 2015. This is the first year it has flowered and I'm sure you'll agree that it is well worth the wait. Also, in the glasshouses, security cameras have been installed as a number of plants have been 'liberated' on a permanent basis. Oh, ok, stolen!! It's very sad that people see a collection of plants and think 'oh, they won't miss one, will they?' If everyone behaved like this there would be nothing left so it was felt necessary to put preventative measures in place.
Another sign of spring are the catkins appearing everywhere. This Corylus avellana 'Contorta', the corkscrew hazel, always puts on a good show, photo 14, and this year is no exception. Also, I've found another elephant in the garden!! This one is hiding in plain sight so you may not have noticed him, photo 15. He's taken up residence by the pond and seems very happy there!
Finally, some news of events this spring. Due to a couple of sellers now unavailable for the Spring Plant Sale that was due to take place on Saturday 14th April it has been decided to merge it with the Tulip Tea Party which is planned for Sunday 13th May. We had a great day last year with the most perfect weather you can imagine. This year it will be bigger and better with more stalls planned. Please put this date in your diaries as the garden needs your support and this is a great fund raising day.