Thursday, 28 March 2013

Not entirely 'miserable March'

Magnolia doltsopa 'Silver Cloud' trained against the wall in the temperate house at the Savill Garden.
An oustanding demonstration of the value of 'winter stems': a Rasta combination of dogwoods and birch at the Savill Garden.
With very unseasonal wintry conditions persisting it feels more like the end of February than the end of March and the plants suggest it too. A year ago (22 March  2012) I reported on the magnolias at the Valley Gardens, then in full glorious flower: last week I was again at Windsor and the hardy magnolias were all still tightly wrapped up in furry buds. The only Magnolia doing anything was M. doltsopa in the Savil Garden temperate house and even in there it was not warm enough for it to be releasing its spicy scent. It is the only Magnolia I've seen in flower so far this year, but spring is creeping out slowly despite the east wind. Here are a few images from my travels of the past week.

Euphorbia rigida: glorious at this time of year in my parents' garden.

Tristagma 'Rolf Fiedler' - a lovely regular flower.

×Chionoscilla allenii showing the broad filaments derived from Chionodoxa (though this is now placed in Scilla by some) but the flower shape comes from Scilla bifolia.

The wild type of Hyacinthus orientalis, though collected in Herat, Afghanistan by Jim Archibald, far outside its native Mediteranean. It is the ancestor of all garden hyacinths... 

... including these modern cultivars exhibited at the RHS show this week by Jan Pennings. The pale one is 'Blue Eyes'.

Narcissus 'Old Tipperary' shown by Alan Street - elegance far exceeding its modern neighbours on the bench. It was rather a thin show, unfortunately.

Back on my own patch: despite the bitter wind and frosts, the early rhododendrons in Ray Wood are insisting on opening. This is R. lutescens Wilson 4277, collected in Sichuan in October 1910.

Rhododendron mallotum Farrer 815 (collected in Burma 1919) - beautiful hairy bracts.


  1. Beautiful flowers! Spring here is equally behind schedule but it seems to finally be warming up.

  2. Love love love those winter stems; a stunning scene. Narcissus 'Old Tipperary' is lovely too.

  3. I saw this Magnolia species at Berkley and absolutely fell in love with it!!!!!

    Oh, Euphorbia rigida is probably my favorite of the genus!

    Spring is here!!

  4. Lovely Rhododendrons.... is the lutescens scented?

  5. Gareth - I went to check. No it's not. Come and sniff them for yourself some time.


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