Welcome to Spring
After our successful openings in February for the wonderful display of Snowdrops in the garden, March heralds the arrival of the extensive collection of Magnolias which will be flowering during the month and onwards throughout April.
The earliest is Magnolia sargentiana a native of Western China whose pure white scented blossoms are a delight in late winter –early spring. Several large trees are situated near the adjacent Marwood Church. Also beside it is Magnolia mollicomata whose big cup and saucer blooms are a vibrant pink colour. Not far away is Magnolia ‘Charles Raffill’, a huge tree, now over 40 years old whose 200 to 300 flowers are a spectacular sight. Many other of the nearly 100 forms of Magnolia trees are spread around the gardens opening their buds at varying periods in the next few weeks, but do look out for Magnolia ‘Marwood Spring’; well, you can’t miss it. At the time of writing its buds are swelling which by later this month will open to deep pinkish-purple flowers and as the petals unfurl reveal a creamy white centre. It is very spectacular. A special plant and the pride and joy in the garden in spring. It is situated in front of the house and tearoom so when you are enjoying your cream tea look out the window and enjoy the view. We have also planted 5 plants of it at the tip of the garden which now after 15 years are flowering well.
Camellias are a plant that the gardens are famous for and Doctor Smart, the founder of the gardens was very passionate about his Camellia collection. In the walled garden is the Camellia greenhouse. Built in the late 1960s it houses nearly 80 plants; many are American raised cultivars but also some tender species. With the extra warmth of being inside the plants are covered in flowers an all shades of pinks and reds and white and in all different shapes. Of course, any overnight frost doesn’t damage the flowers unlike ones outside in the garden, so it’s lovely to admire the display in cold spring days.
A new Camellia walk is also a delight this month. Situated at the far top of the gardens and running along the boundary, nearly 100 plants of different varieties have been planted in the past 18 years and now create a continuous avenue of colour. Planted by the current owner of the garden John Snowdon, Doctor Smart’s nephew, they continue the development of the Camellia collection started by Dr. Smart. The Collection has been awarded an International Camellia Garden of Excellence by the International Camellia Society, one of about 20 throughout the world.
Elsewhere in the gardens this month many other plants will be bursting into bloom, in fact the daffodils appear to be early to flower this year so will soon carpet the areas below the trees just as the snowdrops finish.
Work in the garden has involved spreading plenty of bark on the paths so that it is easier to walk and not be slippery. Volunteers and staff are continuing to cut back old foliage and tidy up beds for new growth to appear. We are steadily renovating some of the beds and borders to eventually plant some new exciting plants and hopefully create some good combinations.
Our plant sales area opens in mid-March and hopefully we have some unusual plants for sale – a bit different from Garden Centres.
Let us hope for some nice spring like weather, bright and dry – just nice for a walk around Marwood Hill Gardens.
The Garden Team.