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Magnolias - 17th April 2018


Spring really does seem to have arrived at last. The extended cold and wet start to the year has finally given way to warmer and brighter weather. I expect Nature will now make up for lost time and we will have an accelerated spring. Weeds are already growing right in front of our eyes and grass too!  From now on it will mean mowing twice a week.


At long last the Magnolias are beginning to bloom. Last year our five magnificent Magnolia soulangeana var. ‘Alba Superba’ started to flower in February. This year they have waited for April, fully six weeks later.  Normally they precede their cousins Kobus and Leonard Messil, but this year they are all flowering together, and unusually they will also be flowering alongside the cherries. Mid-April onwards is going to be very colourful.



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Recent 2018 Diary Entries

Amelanchiers - April 2018


Last week I predicted an accelerated spring and with the mini-heatwave at the end of the week I was not wrong. In no time at all we had Magnolias flowering alongside Amelanchiers and Cherries, the tulips decided to open and most trees and shrubs put on their proper flush of leaves. Every year I forget just how quick the transformation in spring takes place from bare branches to blossom and green leaves.  

For some gardens the heatwave meant that tulips flowered and went over in 48 hours. Blink and you missed them. Luckily for us most of our tulips, both in pots and beds, are less exposed to the full sun and so still have their best to come, and with the return to seasonal temperatures will last much longer.  

One of my favourite plants and a must-have garden plant if space allows, is Amelanchier lamarckii.  We have three grouped by the bridge at the south end of the first lake. They flower a mass of creamy white just as the leaves are pushing out, making a beautiful scene. Sadly though, the blossom is gone in a week leaving the soft green foliage, before they make a dramatic autumn exit in bright orange-red. I cannot finish without my first mention of grass this year. Needless to say, with so much moisture in the ground and warmer temperatures, it is growing very quickly. Plenty of time in the next few weeks will be spent mowing.    




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May Day - May 2018


Normal service resumed on the weather front: several seasons in one day. I was right about the grass: it really is growing like crazy. Having had an opportunity with some dry days to rake and scarify the finer lawns, I then waited a few days before applying a spring feed.  The results are very rapid: lots of green growth. The downside is now having to mow all the main lawns two or three times a week for the foreseeable future, which is very time consuming!

Our tulips are still looking good and will do for at least a week. I'm not sure why but our tulips in pots have not been tempted to flower and go over early like some in the ground. Every year we plant new bulbs in the pots, going for a mixture of our old favourites and some new ones. Tulip ‘West Point’ is one I love to see come back each year, but there are others where one go is enough. See the Rose Garden if you want to know what I mean! I cannot finish without mentioning my favourite tree and arguably the best in the garden: Prunus ‘Shirofugen’, It is the first thing you see as walk down the drive, a huge spreading cherry tree just coming into full flower. It is quite stunning. LMC is open for the NGS on Monday afternoon, 7th May. The gardens always look spectacular at this time with the late cherries being joined by crab apples, tulips, weeping pears and spots of colour and interest everywhere. Also, not to be missed is the Flower Festival in Little Malvern Priory next door, open as part of the garden opening. The weather forecast is excellent so every reason to come and take a look and enjoy.





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Show Week - May 2018


We had a terrific day on Monday.  Hot sun on a bank holiday for a change and hundreds of people enjoyed the gardens and flower festival.  The weather really is all important for boosting visitors.  So if you want to see a garden in the privacy of your own company go on a dull day!

Following hard on the heels of Magnolias and Cherrie are the Crab Apples.  We have several lovely varieties flowering now:  Malus ‘John Downie’ and Malus floribunda, the Japanese Crab Apple.  They will be followed soon after by Malus hupehensis and Malus baccata.  They all form large billowing clouds of white.  Real showpieces in the May garden.

Alongside the top pond and elsewhere surrounding the garden are equally stunning Prunus padus, the Bird Cherry.  These have elongated white flowers not dissimilar to lilac in size and lovely soft green foliage.

Our tulips are standing up to the heat given us yet another week of spot colour, although the early flowering ones have already been replaced with their summer replacements.  And any day now the standard Wisteria will break out into flower and the first of the roses will be close behind.

It is a very busy time in the garden.  Grass is growing as never before and the weeds are loving all this heat after the spring rain. All-in-all there is not a better time to see the garden.






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Camassia - May 2018


Each week in my blog I highlight just one or two aspects of the garden of particular interest, although at this time of year there are many different parts of the garden, and plants in particular, that are of special interest.

Our wildflower meadow is one such: an area of outstanding natural beauty containing a number of stunning individuals.  None more so than Camassia.  Following on from other, more illustrious, gardens (big thanks to HRH), I introduced Camassia three or four years ago.  And while they have always looked good, this year they are the best yet.  Perhaps the wet spring helped or it is just that they have settled in, but the effect of blue and purple subtly displayed amongst the grasses and accompanied by vibrant meadow buttercups is so good.  There are two varieties, the taller and showier C. leichtlinii caerulea and the shorter C. esculenta, ‘Quamash’.  This emerges looking to all the world like a bluebell before the flower bud opens to reveal the most lovely purple petals.







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