Our Head Gardener points out what to anticipate this spring…

Thanks to the above average temperatures we’ve had throughout winter, there are already beautiful Magnolias and cherries flowering – most definitely a sign that spring is a little earlier than usual. Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’ and Prunus incisa ‘Fujimae’ are flowering near the path down towards the lake, and Magnolia campbellii ‘mollicomata’ and Treve Holman are coming into flower along the main drive within the arboretum. Another stunning Magnolia is Eleanor May with red purplish bowl-shaped flowers that open to a light pink which can also be spotted from the path walking down towards the lake.

However, it’s not just about Magnolias; a mass of Japanese flowering cherries will fill the arboretum with clouds of pink and white this spring. Prunus x yedoensis (Yoshino cherry) is first to flower in with slightly scented, blush white or tinged pink flowers. The rest of our Japanese Flowering Cherries have started to blossom, continuing into early May. There is an amazing display of Japanese cherries along the boardwalk leading up to our top car park; white flowers of the classic Prunus ‘Tai-haku’ – the great white cherry – and soft pink semi-double flowers of Prunus ‘Horinji’, to name but a few in this area. Another remarkable sight is Prunus incisa ‘The Bride’ – pink when in bud before flowering into stunning light pink/white flowers around mid-April – which can be found to the front of the Japanese Rest House.

Also not to be missed between March and May…

There is still a mass of daffodils throughout the arboretum, along with the blue flowers of scilla and Chinodoxa, Cyclamen, crocus, hyacinth, and Hellebores which look stunning.

The impressive yellow flowers of Cornus mas (Cornelian cherry) and Cornus officinalis (Japanese cornelian cherry) both have similar small clusters of tiny, bright yellow flowers.

Fritillaria meleagris – with white and maroon-red flowers – can be found dotted through grass areas, whilst Fritillaria imperialis (Crown imperial) – with stems up to one metre in height and pendent bell-shaped red flowers – can be found along ‘Her Ladyships Walk,’ the entrance path into the arboretum.

Paulownia fortunei ‘Fast Blue’ – known as the ‘Fox Glove tree’ because of the beautiful lightly scented lilac-blue flowers shaped like the foxglove flower – can also be found along ‘Her Ladyships Walk.’

The vibrant yellow flowers of Skunk Cabbage and Marsh Marigolds are coming into flower around Rockery Bridge and in the swamp.

It is also worth looking out for the impressive displays of Wild Garlic with sporadic displays of Bluebells in Church Piece between mid-April and May.

In May, the wildflower area surrounding our ‘Daphne’ statue comes alive, starting with a mass of beautiful blue Camassia leichtlinii.

Ornamental flowering crab apple Malus spectabilis (the Chinese Crab) will be covered in pink flowers and can be found to the side of the path below the Thatched Cottage.

Ornamental flowering dogwoods are not to be missed; Cornus ‘Norman Hadden’ and Cornus ‘Porlock’ – flowerheads grow to 8cm in width, with four ovate white bracts which turn pink with age. Both are covered in bracts which makes for an impressive sight, and can be found to the lower front of the Rest House, by Lord Dulverton and Ken Hope’s memorial benches.

Finally, a trip to Batsford in May would not be complete without a visit to our beautiful ‘Pocket Handkerchief Tree’ (Davidia involucrata var. vilmoriniana)!