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Jo's News and Views No 4 April 2024

Hello Everyone 


Well, enduring all that rain over the last couple of months has definitely been worth it. The garden has come alive with blossom and flowers at every turn, so without further ado here are the highlights for April. 


The Syringas, or Lilacs as we all know them, have been in flower all through April and grow in several areas in the Arboretum. This group is near the huge Ash tree, photo 1. This is a different view of the same group from the drive, photo 2. My favourite has to be Syringa vulgaris 'Sensation', photo 3. 


The rambling rose, Rosa banksiae 'Lutea', on the front of the House, photo 4, and on the wall near the courtyard, photo 5, has been flowering for several weeks now. The small double flowers are delightful, photo 6. The Front Lawn has joined in the 'flower fest' and is looking lovely too, photo 7. The tree in the centre which appears to be dead is Juglans nigra, a Black Walnut tree. This tree is always the last to break into leaf so there is hope for it yet! The bed in the centre of the lawn is full of these beautiful paeonies, photos 8. Also, here is this very old Malus 'Bowles Hybrid', photo 9. The blossom is covering every branch, photo 10, so there will be a very good crop of the unusual red fleshed apples that this tree produces. 


Moving on towards the Pond I stopped to inspect the Gunnera growing at the side of the pond, photo11. I thought most of the Gunnera was lost after the renovations to the pond so it was pleasing to find this clump growing so vigorously here. 


Walking through to the Rose Garden I stopped to admire the new pergola that has replaced the old broken one, photo 12. Julia, the new Head Gardener, has certainly hit the ground running with many repairs taking place around the garden. On the Tulip Terrace the display of tulips was stunning with a wonderful mix of colours, photo 13. This is one of my favourites, photo 14. I do not know the name of it but it just makes me smile. At the end of the terrace, the younger of the two Paulownia tomentosa, the Foxglove tree, that are planted at either end was in flower, photo 15. I think you can see how it came by its common name. 


Further along the New River Lawn is the Wild garden. Here the Enkianthus campanulatus was in full flower, photo 16. The small flowers that cover this shrub are exquisite, photo 17, and I am so glad I caught it in flower this year. It is one of those understated shrubs that people walk past without noticing the flowers because they are above their heads. Out on the New River Lawn again and this time I stopped to admire the Acer pseudoplatanus 'Brilliantissimum', photo 18. The tree is certainly as big as its name and the soft salmon pink leaves are very beautiful. Nearby the pond under the Wisteria Bridge has also been repaired, photo 19. The surrounding area will be filled with plants to soften the edges. Great job done as the previous pond edges had collapsed into the water. Nearby the fabulous Paeonia suffruticosa 'Shugyoku Den', photo 20, was in full bloom. This is an amazing plant and I am always surprised at just how big the flowers grow!


Walking back through the Kitchen Garden I saw that crops were growing well and more beds have been prepared, photo 21. Near the Glass Houses the poppies were all in flower, photo 22. So bright and cheerful, just right for Spring. 


Finally, my fauna roundup. On arriving at the garden one morning I was delighted to spot this Kestrel, photo 23. Just sitting very still watching for prey in the grass below him, photo 24. A very beautiful bird. When I was walking around the front lawn I disturbed this pheasant, photo 25. Standing by my car on one visit I noticed this huge swarm of bees, photo 26. I think they might be Honey bees, photo 27, but happy for an expert to correct me. Last of all is this Toad, photo 28. Terry, one of the gardeners came across him and my thanks go to Terry and the LV for permission to use the photo. 


Hope you have all enjoyed my wander around the garden. 


Happy gardening 


Best wishes 




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