A warm welcome to 2023

Happy new year! We hope you had an enjoyable festive season with your loved ones and friends.

You’ll notice that we’re enjoying a little more daylight every day – by the end of the month, we’ll be enjoying a whole hour of extra light – and the gardening team will take advantage of every additional minute.

January is one of the coldest months, but the gardening team will keep warm by doing their regular outdoor exercise of cleaning paths of leaves, and of snow and ice if there is any.

At this time of year, we can’t blame visitors for dwelling a little longer than usual in the warm glasshouses. There will be plenty to feast your eyes on this month, too: hibiscus, pelargonium and sparrmannia are just a few of the colourful exotic plants in flower now, reminding us of warmer days ahead.

Step outside into the brisk fresh air, and there are more beautiful specimens to enjoy. The wonderfully scented winter shrubs, such as hamamelis (witch hazel), Daphne and sarcococca (Christmas box), flower throughout January, and you can find these in the Wilson border, the aviary winter bed and the winter border.

There’s every chance you’ll also start to spot the promise of spring as the leaf buds of early flowering bulbs will start to poke through the soil in the borders. Every day, we spot new ones peeping out and just that hint of the colourful yellows and whites of narcissi to come makes your heart sing.

It’s not just your eyes you need to keep peeled this month – your ears will also be in for a treat as you walk around the Gardens. It’s January we usually hear the song thrush singing and the woodpeckers “drumming”, as both mark their territories before the spring.

And if you’re lucky, you might also see the shy redwings from Scandinavia, stripping the red berries off the hollies in the woodland walk.

Whenever you visit, we hope you enjoy a few hours of tranquillity in the wonderful grounds and glasshouses – and if it’s cold, you can always warm up with a hot drink and a bite to eat in our tea room.

We’re looking forward to another exciting year after a great 2022, and we hope you’ll be able to visit us this year or even become a member

Perhaps you received a membership as a Christmas gift – if so, we look forward to your regular visits here.

Many people are surprised to learn we are an independent educational charity that receives no regular public funding. Instead, our income comes from generous public donations and grants, as well as conferences, weddings and other events. We welcome everyone – and you know you by coming to visit, you are also helping to preserve this fantastic Grade II listed space. 

We also love to see your photos and videos. If you pay us a visit, please keep posting them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and let us know what you have enjoyed in particular on your visit here. We look forward to seeing you all this month.