February is full of fragrance and colour
January sped by, didn’t it? And that means we are slowly edging towards the end of winter and into spring.
The gardening team worked non-stop last month. Winter brings with it the labour-intensive tasks of clearing – whether that’s the paths, to keep them safe for visitors, or in the borders to ensure they stay as neat and tidy as possible.
This is a big job in even the smallest domestic garden, so imagine what it’s like when you have 15 acres to look after! Luckily, we have a great team of dedicated gardeners and volunteers who love to ensure these historically important Gardens remain a jewel in the city of Birmingham’s crown.
This month, they will be heading to the grass garden, which needs to have a trim. Some of the flower heads are starting to look a little untidy, so they will be cut back. Grasses provide such great value for any garden – they have given us a fantastic display since last summer and always look amazing in the frosty weather, too.
There’s certainly nothing drab about winter gardens – you only have to wander around here to see there are more flowers out than you would think.
The popular winter border features the vibrant red, yellow and black stems of cornus (dogwood), while the scented, citrus peel-like hamamelis (witch hazel) and fragrant creamy flowers of sarcococca (Christmas box) also perfume the air.
Have you noticed your daffodils peeking through the soil yet in your tubs and borders? Our first daffodils – Narcissus ‘Tamara’ – an early flowering cultivar with large yellow trumpets, are already in flower in the aviary winter bed. This burst of yellow is such a cheery sight and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Head over the woodland walk and you’ll be greeted by a carpet of galanthus (snowdrops) and you can enjoy the delicate crocuses on the aviary and west lawns.
Another gorgeous seasonal flower is the eranthis (winter aconite). These bright yellow, buttercup-like flowers are adorning the azalea bank, while over in the Alan King Alpine Garden there is a beautiful display of lachenalia – our plant of the month for February – as well as cyclamen persicum and cyclamen coum.
However, one of the real stars of the show this month will be the highly fragrant Daphne ‘Jacqueline Postill’, which you’ll find at the top of the rock garden. This wonderful species has clusters of pink and white flowers that are shaped like a hot cross bun. If you have this wonderful species at home, do you under-plant with cyclamen? A sight for sore eyes!
We hope you enjoy your time at the Gardens, whatever the season. It doesn’t matter what the temperature is, there’s always something that will catch your eye. As it’s February, though, wrap up warm, grab a coffee from the cafe and get out in the fresh air to reset your mood.
If you’re visiting us this month, and spot something you love, have a question about a specific plant or just want to highlight your trip, please tag us or post to our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. We really enjoy reading what you have loved seeing here and what you have experienced.
We hope to see you all soon.