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Jo's News and Views No4 April 2023

Hello Everyone

Well, April seems to have flown by or should I say blown by! We have had such a mix of wind, rain and sunshine that I'm sure our plants do not know whether they should shoot up or take it slowly. Needless to say, Nature is sorting it all out for us. First up is the wonderful Erysimum 'Bowles's Mauve', photo 1. I thought it would be fitting for us to celebrate Mr Bowles birthday early with this exceptional plant. I think we all have one in our gardens and if you haven't then please add it to your list as they are very good for attracting butterflies. The pots of Erysimum on the steps of the Visitors Centre provide a colourful welcome to the garden, photo 2. Walking around to Bowling Green Lawn, I am greeted by an Eremurus Border that has had a Spring tidy-up, photo 3. We haven't seen any eremurus here in recent years but perhaps a bit of sunshine will encourage them to raise their heads, if they are still there. In the old butler sink planters around the garden are these lovely Pulsatilla vulgaris, photo 4. Such an unfortunate name for this beautiful flower. Further along the border of the Hollow Lawn area is this stunning Magnolia stellata 'Water Lily', photo 5. The name is very apt for this shrub as the flowers really do resemble a water lily, photo 6. On the edge of the Lunatic Asylum is an Acer pseudoplatanus 'Brilliantissimum'. Photo 7 taken from behind the tree and photo 8 taken from the New River Lawn. When the leaves open they are a bright pink then they turn yellowy-green which is the stage they are at in these photos. In front of the Peach House are the colourful Anemones, photo 9. These flowers are much tougher than they look as they have been flowering since Christmas so have survived the snow, frosts and heavy rain. I have been so impressed by them that I have added them to my garden. Also, here in the Kitchen Garden is the Fruit Arch. The Conference Pears are now covering the frame with blossom, photo 10. It is a very cheerful sight and the individual flowers are exquisite, photo 11. Behind the arch is the overlooked Cercis siliquastrum, the Judas Tree, photo 12. The flowers are rosy pink and pea-shaped, forming clusters on the older wood. There are many stories about the origins of its name. One of them is that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from a tree of this species. Moving on to a happier subject, the Tulip Terrace, photo 13. The tulips have been flowering throughout April so perhaps these days Mr Bowles would have to choose another flower for his birthday tea party in May! The individual beds were planted up with a variety of colours surrounded by forget-me-nots, photo 14. Some of the double tulips were amazing when looked at closely, 15 and 16. In the Rose Garden the Magnolias have been flowering well but the wind has blown quite a few flowers from the trees. However the one on the edge, sheltered by the huge tree behind it, was still covered in dark pink flowers, photo 17. On the pathway beside the Rose Garden heading towards Tom Tiddlers Ground is the beautiful Berberis darwinii, photo 18. Discovered by and named after Charles Darwin in 1835. The small yellowy-orange flowers form in clusters and are followed by small berries, photo 19. Nearby is the Bamboo Walk which is home to these beautiful Cyclamen, photo 20. Again this is a very hardy plant despite its delicate appearance and it is thriving here along the pathway, photo 21. On the side of the house facing the pond is the Old Conservatory. It has a timeless feel about it and is full of interesting plants, photo 22 and 23. Not a pretty sight but a welcome sight nonetheless are the scaffold poles surrounding the Clock Tower which indicate that the work to restore the clock at the top of the tower is under way, photo 24. As suggested by Jill Kidger, the Society has offered funds to help renovate the clock faces. Now a roundup of some birds I have seen on my walks around the garden. Whilst looking at the Clock Tower I was joined by this Magpie, photo 25. No doubt looking for crumbs dropped by the visitors. Then on the Front lawn strutting around as though he owned it, was this Pied Wagtail, photo 26. Then soaring overhead was this Red Kite, photo 27. Sorry, he was gone before I had a chance to take another photo. Better luck next time, as they say! I hope you have all enjoyed this wander through the garden with me. Best wishes Jo



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