As Spring approaches, the weather has been tough for plants. However, on 1st January we had five different messengers of Spring out: crocus, hellebores, aconites, snowdrops and daffodils. This is the first time we have ever had such an array so early. Prunus Accolade also flowered but then has regressed with the recent frosts. Most extraordinary of all was Magnolia Loebneri Donna pushing through its first buds in January, at least two months early. It’s hard to tell whether these signs are a fluke or further evidence of a deeper change in climate patterns. Whichever, it has been a joy to see the garden breaking into flower. We have several forms of Viburnum Bodnantense, all of which are beautifully scented and vary in colour from clear white to shell pink. Of the Daphnes, Bholua, Jacqueline Postill, again comes in three forms in the garden. The most brightly coloured is a hybrid called Limpsfield. The pure white one is quite a rarity but will be in full flower within a week. The reliable Sarcococcas are giving scent along various paths and are one of the most reliable flowering Winter shrubs – apparently undeterred by frost.
Where this will take us into April is anyone’s guess but we are concerned that the garden is just getting earlier and earlier and more difficult to forecast for visitors coming later in the year. We are well ahead with pruning the ramblers and climbing roses, which ripened well in last year’s sunshine – they promise well for those of you who will be visiting in May and June.
Our NGS opening dates and times this year are:
Easter Monday 10th April, 12.30pm to 5.00pm – BBQ lunches and teas available
May Day Monday 1st May (our 58th wedding anniversary!), 2.30pm to 5.30pm
Saturday 10th June, 12.30pm to 5.00pm – coinciding with the village fete, which will be offering BBQ lunches and teas
Entry fee £6 for 16-year-olds and over – if the weather is kind to us, we will have some plants for sale on our plants stall.
We look forward to seeing new visitors and old friends alike.
Ewan and Jenny Harper