Spring is now really starting to get going with bulbs and shrubs flowering in most parts of the garden. New to the garden this month is the auricula theatre which you will be able to enjoy on the route of this walk round. Under glass you may see some of the cacti flowering in the arid house.
This tour begins in the sub-tropical house and you'll have to look carefully. On the left hand side of the steps is Amomum dealbatum(1). This unusual member of the ginger family has long arching leaves which reach 2.5m whilst the white flowers occur at the base of the plant. This plant has been used as an antidote to poison. As you leave the sub-tropical house look to your left to see our home grown pineapples in flower.
Turn right as you leave the sub-tropical house and make your way to the end of the terrace. Opposite the parrot cage is our new auricula theatre which will continually be restocked throughout the month with the choicest members of our auricula collection, for example Primula auricula 'Scorcher'(2). From the end of the terrace turn right and go through the alpine yard where a number of plants will be coming into bloom. Follow the path round to the west lawn which is currently looking splendid with naturalised daffodils. Continue along Gerard Walk to the rock garden where you will not be able to miss the magnificent Magnolia x soulangiana(3). The next plant has the common name of skunk cabbage and announces itself by its strong scent so follow your nose down Farrer Walk to the bog garden where you will discover the yellow flowers of Lysichiton americanus(4), some love it, some loath it! Bear left and leave the bog garden. In the border ahead of you is the giant snowflake, Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant'(5).
Now you have passed the halfway point of the tour so it is time to head back up the garden by Wilson Walk, climb the steps to the right and a the top turn left on to Paxton Prospect. On your left you will see a tree covered with star-shaped white flowers. This is Amelanchier laevis(6). Continue on to the fountain for the final two plants, the dark pink flowered Primula sieboldii 'Nuretubane'(7) and round the corner the red petioled Daphnephyllum macropodium(8). This plant may not have the showiest flowers but it is of interest because it is listed as being borderline hardy. It looks in pretty good shape after the coldest December since records began! Living proof that it sometimes pays to be brave with your planting choices.
Next month, spring in full swing!
The guide book, tree guide and a range of interpretation sheets can be viewed in the front entrance and purchased from Reception.