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Spring bulbs, Acacia tree in bloom & willow weaving

The arrival of March is heralded by beautiful purple crocuses and golden daffodils blooming all around the Garden. After a long and wet winter it’s a joy to be able to sit outside again for lunch and enjoy the warmth of some bright sunshine and all the Garden has to offer.

Golden daffodils heralding spring

One particularly striking feature that’s catching the eye at the moment is the spectacular floral display of our Acacia dealbata tree, which has erupted in a cascade of bright yellow blossoms. Its feathery green foliage provides a delicate backdrop for the profusion of golden, mimosa-like flowers, creating a visual feast for the senses. Also known as the Freemason tree, ours was kindly donated by members of the local lodge and seems to be thriving amongst the sword-like leaves of some bronze and pink-veined Phormiums. It’s a great fast-growing evergreen tree that thrives in various soil conditions and requires minimal maintenance. Plus, its fragrant flowers attract a diverse range of pollinators, including bees and butterflies, contributing to the biodiversity of our Garden and supporting the health of the ecosystem.

Acacia dealbata tree in bloom

Stepping into the warmth of our large polytunnel reveals that our impressively jungle-like Banana plants have had their annual tidy-up and look full of energy for the new season. There is a profusion of fresh growth and green shoots on our tender plants and new seedlings. The sprouted sweet peas that were planted last month have now put on several pairs of leaves, and will soon be ready for hardening off out in the cold frames. As it gets warmer, more seeds for summer bedding and the vegetable beds will soon be sown.

A profusion of new growth in the polytunnel

Sweet pea seedlings

On the wooden staging, our forced Hyacinth bulb displays, in shades of pink and purple, have brought a beautiful touch of spring indoors. Known for their vibrant colours, sweet fragrance and stunning blooms, Hyacinths are easy to coax into an early indoor flowering. This can be done at home with an autumn planting in bulb fibre in well-draining pots (water them thoroughly until the water runs out of the drainage holes), followed by chilling the pots in a cool, dark location like a refrigerator or dark cupboard for 6-8 weeks to simulate winter conditions. Water when required, do not allow them to dry out. After chilling, move the pots to a cool (15 °C), well-lit location indoors. Water them sparingly to keep the fibre slightly moist. Within 4-6 weeks, you should start seeing green shoots emerge. As the flower stalks develop, provide them with bright light. Soon, your hyacinths will burst into bloom, filling your rooms with the sweet scent of spring.

Forced Hyacinth bulbs

Whilst our team has been waiting for the outside Garden to become properly workable again, some have turned their hands to willow weaving and made some attractive and intricate baskets and other structures. It’s a perfect time of year to do it, as the freshly harvested willow stems remain supple and manipulable as long as they’re kept damp and don’t dry out. Willow is a fast-growing, sustainable material that lends itself beautifully to creating both decorative and functional structures, and we’re going to be planting a whole bed of it to supply more of our willow needs in the future. It’s a great beginner-friendly craft that anyone can participate in, regardless of age or experience, and working on it together allows us to connect, share knowledge and get creative.

Weaving a willow basket base

Willow baskets and decorations

Willow weaving

If you’re interested in seeing what our team have been making and would like to enjoy the spring flowers as they come into bloom, then why not visit us? We're open to visitors from 10 am to 3 pm on weekdays, and always look forward to seeing you. In the meantime, happy gardening!

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