Spring is finally peeking through

We might still be in winter, but there are welcome signs that spring is just around the corner. The lighter days are slowly stretching out and we’re enjoying the first daffodils – Narcissus ‘Tamara’, an early flowering cultivar with large yellow trumpets – that are in flower in the aviary winter bed. 

You can spot more flowers than you’d think this time of year in the Gardens. The winter border is vibrant with the red, yellow and black stems of Cornus (dogwood); the scented, citrus peel like Hamamelis (witch hazel); and the scented creamy flowers of Sarcococca.


As you enjoy your daily exercise in the grounds, you’ll be able to spot hundreds of Galanthus (snowdrops / milkflowers) in the woodland walk and see scores of crocuses by the aviary and on the west lawns. 


Eranthis (winter aconites), with their bright yellow, buttercup-like flowers, adorn the azalea bank, while the cerise pink flowers of the Cyclamen coum are speckling the alpine meadow in the Alan King Alpine Garden.


However, THE star plant this month is the highly fragrant Daphne ‘Jacqueline Postill’, which you can see at the top of the rock garden. This delicate plant has lovely hot cross bun scented pink and white flowers.


The gardeners will continue to keep the gardens tidy and safe for visitors during this latest lockdown. We’ve been tidying borders ready for the spring by raking off autumn leaves and cutting back dead stems on herbaceous plants. The herbaceous border, opposite the playground, has also been cut back and weeded.


We’ve also been busy putting rock salt down on the paths in the icy and snowy weather and using leaf blowers to remove debris.


One of the main tasks for this month is to cut back some of the untidy flower heads in the grass garden. These have provided a fantastic show since last summer and have looked great in the recent frosty weather, but the time’s right to cut them back, ready for this year’s magnificent displays.


It’s been wonderful to see visitors enjoying the Gardens in these winter months and we hope you’ll continue to support us. Taking regular exercise outdoors has never been so crucial to our mental health – and not only are you able to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful grounds, but you’re also supporting a local charity.


Tickets can be booked to visit the Gardens here.