Flaming June is heralded in the Gardens with Heliconia bihai ‘Balisier’ (1) in the tropical house. Its waxy bright red bird-pollinated inflorescences are tropical as anyone could wish. Move from the hot and steamy tropics to the dry deserts for our next plant which is the fastest growing plant in the world – the Spanish dagger (Hesperoyucca whipplei), (2), which extends 3.65 metres in less than 14 days when it grows its flower spike.
Leave the arid house by the end door and turn to your right to smell the amazing scent of the pineapple or Moroccan broom Cytisus battandieri (3). Further along the terrace is the fried egg flower of the Californian tree poppy Romneya coulteri (4). Retrace your steps and turn right at the parrot cages and walk down the alpine yard. Many colourful alpines are found here surrounded by the soft colours of old fashioned shrub roses and catmint and the heavenly scent of Lilium regale (5).
Leave the alpine yard past the Study Centre and drop down onto the West lawn, walk along the front of the herbaceous border, where Astrantia ’Hadspen Blood’ (6) is still providing an excellent long lasting display of deep red bracts. Exit the west lawn towards the fountain and turn right towards the tennis courts, then enter the rock garden, follow the path past the hosta bed into the rhododendron walk, which will lead you to the bog garden and the magnificent large leaves and flower spikes of the Gunnera manicata.
Continue through the hedge on to the grass and trials garden, where the Iris are still in flower beside the rich red poppy blooms of the Papaver orientale (7). Climb up through the cool shade of the woodland walk to the lawn aviary and the rose garden, where the David Austin New English Roses and Rosa ‘ White Pet’ (8) are looking at their best.
Finish the tour by walking back down the grass slope from the lawn aviary towards the bandstand. As you approach the fountain there is a small collection of mountain laurel (Kalmia species) showing off their pink and red flowers. As you walk back up the hill towards the terrace there is a final show of lilies in the pinetum border.
Check out our other seasonal walks in the botanical gardens.