16 Jan 2017

Are we nearly there yet?

Ardd Fotaneg · Botanic Garden

Do the first snowdrops of 2017 mean that it’s nearly spring?

Unfortunately not.  Today was my first visit to the Botanic Garden in 2017 and I just had to go out to see what was in bloom.  I actually met a lady in Spring Wood.  She didn’t say a lot but what she did say was “Look at me, aren’t I lovely.”  Lady Beatrix Stanley was there in all her glory and, in case you’re wondering what on earth I’m talking about, I’d better let you in on the secret – she’s a snowdrop.  Yes, the snowdrops are starting to come out.  Her Ladyship is actually an early riser – I mean flowering variety, but there were others around as well – a few commoners I think.

There were a few daffodils in the car park and a couple on the Broadwalk.  If you’re in the proximity of the Japanese Garden the lovely fragrance is likely to be the winter flowering honeysuckle.  It’s not as flamboyant and showy as the one that reminds us of balmy summer evenings but it is just as sweetly scented.  There’s a sweetly scented viburnum in the corporate car park but the light had deteriorated too much before I managed to get there for a photo – maybe next time.

One of my favourites at this time of year is the witch hazel.

It has a strange flower, without form in some ways, but very attractive and it comes in lovely colours.  You can see it on the Broadwalk, particularly by the Circle of Decision.  I did see some primroses but I don’t know if they were new seasons or left over from last season.  We have some in our garden that seem to bloom all the year.  Someone will tell me they are primula or polyanthas (is there any difference – I expect so.) and they may be right.  I had a look to see if the winter aconites are out yet, they’re not so I think it’s too early.  The hellebores have started but have a long way to go.  Now there’s a plant that has a long flowering season.  I love hellebores.  We’ve got a pale pinky, purple one at home and last year it had 25-30 blooms at any one time and it’s still a young plant.  I look forward to seeing those that grow beside the lake.

There was a bit of clearing up after Santa and the Elves but on the whole it was fairly quiet at the Garden so I went up to the Great Glass House to have a look around.  I don’t think there is a bad time to go in there, especially with the work that has been put in to refresh the borders along the main concourse.  It already looks good but when it’s finished it will look great.  There are always plants in there that blow my mind and there’s always something that I don’t remember seeing before.

Well times up. We aren’t nearly there yet but it won’t be long and there is so much to see along the way and every week the nights get lighter.  Bring it on.

Pam Murden