After the warmest February on record, we've now had the wettest March for a decade. Storm Gareth followed by Storm Hannah brought some very harsh wet weather to us and I wondered if I would be able to take any photos this month but the clouds cleared on several days so I made the most of them. The warm wet weather through March brought everything on at an astonishing rate so you have lots of comparison photos to enjoy this month. I would say that Spring has definitely sprung!!
First of all, a peek in the Old Conservatory, photo 1. This area, like so many around the garden, has been cleaned and updated and looked lovely in the sunshine.
The Pond Terrace is the first of the comparisons this month. Photo 2 was taken on March 11th and photo 3 was taken on March 29th. Photo 4 shows one of the lovely arrangements in the pots.
Moving on to the Alpine Meadow there were more transformations. Photo 5 was taken on March 11th and photo 6 was taken on March 24th. It is amazing how quickly the flowers open with a little encouragement from the sun.
Down in the Rock Garden, the small Magnolia stellata is flowering and looks stunning against the blue scilla, photo 7. This was added by Andrew Turvey to replace the one Mr Bowles had planted here. This one was planted in late 2010 by yours truly, one of my first important jobs as a volunteer so I feel very connected to it. The scilla, now called Hyacinthus bythinica, covers most of the ground and looks amazing. I hope the photos 8, 9 and 10 do it justice.
Walking back through the garden I stopped to check the pear trees. Their progress this month has been good too. Photo 12, taken on March 11th, shows the buds still tightly closed against the cold. Photo 13, taken on March 24th, shows the buds opening and 5 days later on March 29th, they are getting really excited about it being springtime! I think the archway will look impressive this year.
My next stop was the Peach House. I love the flowers on both the peach and nectarine trees, photo 15, but I favour the ones on the nectarine trees which are a deeper shade of pink, photo 6. Very pretty.
Leaving the Peach House behind I moved on to the Tulip Terrace. The beds here were planted up with daffodils in the autumn last year by the volunteers and photo 17, taken on March 11th, shows them just beginning to open. By March 24th they were in full bloom and make a wonderful display for all to enjoy and they are still going strong, photo 18.
It seems that this month I can't get enough of the blossom around the garden so it was off to the Rose Garden next to see the magnolias there. Magnolias rarely disappoint us and this is certainly a good year for them. The magnolia in the George III area is pale pink, photos 19 and 20. It opens earlier than the tree with dark pink blooms in the Rose Garden, photos 21 and 22, which means that we get to enjoy them for even longer.
This month I'm finishing with a border that I don't think I've featured before. This is the border that runs alongside the Sunken Lawn area, photo 23. It is looking lovely and I thought it deserved to be mentioned. The seat is a favourite with visitors as it's in the sunshine and a very pleasant spot to sit and relax.
Finally, we have said goodbye to James, our head gardener, this month. James has continued to improve the garden and so many areas have been cleared, cleaned and brought back to life. Whenever I speak to friends and visitors to the garden we all say the same thing "The garden has never looked better". James is joining the team creating the RHS's fifth garden project in Salford, Greater Manchester. They are transforming the formerly derelict 154 acre site at Worsley New Hall. A very exciting project indeed and we wish James all the best and every success in the future.
I hope you have enjoyed this wander through the garden with me.