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Jo's News and Views for March

Hello Everyone,

When I wrote about the havoc the storms were causing us a month ago, I don't think any of us imagined anything worse. But in a few short weeks our lives have changed dramatically in ways we could never have imagined. The coronavirus has spread so rapidly that it has caught everyone unaware and now drastic measures have been brought in to save us. The Garden is now closed until further notice so I am pleased to have visited on the last day it was open.

Hopefully my newsletter will bring a welcome diversion from the restrictions that have now been placed upon us.

If different flowers have their moment then the same can be said for different areas and the Arboretum in spring is certainly one of those moments, photo 1. Filled with the delights of spring with new leaves appearing on the trees surrounded by a carpet of daffodils and other spring flowers, it looked wonderful.

Wandering around the front lawn to look at the camellias, I thought how handsome the house looked framed by the beautiful blue sky, photo 2.

Moving on to the pond I always enjoy a walk all the way round. Since the areas around the pond have been cleared of the old debris the bulbs have emerged in huge drifts, photo 3. Also around the pond the primroses, photo 4 and anemones, photo 5, are enjoying their new found freedom too.

Walking along the New River Lawn, the tulip terrace or should I say daffodil terrace greets you with an impressive display for spring, photo 6. Whenever I see hundreds of flowers like this I always spare a thought to the people who dug all the holes for the bulbs back in the autumn, probably in wet and cold conditions. So a huge thank you to them all for this dazzling display.

Next it's a visit to the Pergola and Rose Garden area. This magnolia was in full flower and looked magnificent in the sunshine with the blue sky all around it, photo 7. It certainly is the centrepiece for this area at this time of year joined by the evergreen Clematis armandii, photo 8. The beds here are also filled with flowering bulbs and spring flowers. The tulips, photo 9 and the pulmonaria, photo 10, compliment each other very well. Another striking arrangement was this group of trees, photo 11. The new bronze leaves on the tree, the deep pink flowers on the rhododendron and the newly emerging pink flowers on the magnolia tree grouped together to form a very pretty picture. The flowers on this magnolia open later than the other one as it is completely shaded by the huge yew tree but will put on a welcome show next month.

Leaving the Rose Garden, I walked around to the Sunken Lawn Border. Here, like many areas in the garden, it has benefitted from a clearance of intrusive and undesirable plants leaving the beauty of the shrubs to shine through in the welcome sunshine, photo 12. The old butler sink is the perfect container for the aubretia and Ipheion uniforum 'Wisley Blue', photo 13.

Then it was onto the Kitchen Garden. Steph and her team have worked hard through difficult weather conditions to keep it all looking ship-shape, photo 14. The fruit arch has had daffodils planted down each side relieving the starkness of the frame and bare branches at this time of year, photo 15. The blossom was beginning to open, photo 16, with the promise of a good crop this year....... if Steph can get to them before the parakeets do!!

As you leave the Kitchen Garden you can see the view down to the Rock Garden. It always looks stunning at this time of year, photo 17. Then you see the scilla covering the mounds completely and again you appreciate the glory that is the garden, photos 18 and 19. The Lathraea clandestina continues to open its flowers and grow in size, photo 20. It will end up covering quite a large area. Walking back along the path I noticed this lovely Fritillaria meleagris, known by many common names including snake's head fritillary, photo 21. It was the only one I could see so I appreciated it being there for me.

So now the fauna for this month. First of all, here is a Blue Tit and Great Tit, photo 22. You don't often see the colours of the feathers like this so I was pleased to have captured this moment. Next is a common bird that is rarely seen, the Nuthatch, photo 23. They nested in the garden last year and I'm hoping they will again this year, just sorry I won't be there to see them. Finally, down in the Wildlife Area, there was frog spawn in the pond, photo 24. A welcome addition to the garden.

Well, that's the end of this month's wander around the garden. I hope you have enjoyed it. Although I can't visit the garden at the moment I do have a huge collection of photos so will continue to bring you views, if not news, of the garden. However there will be up to date photos from Bryan on our website,, so do take a look.

Finally, please follow advice and stay at home as much as you can. Stay safe and keep well.

Best Wishes


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