South West gardens blooming despite the weather for Valentine’s flower count

  • Rare rhododendron in flower for second time in 30 years
  • Snowdrop voted top spring bloom

Surprisingly, the recent unprecedented wet weather seems to have had very little affect so far on National Trust gardens in the South West with the annual spring spectacular already under way.  

Volunteer Hayley Jones helps out at the National Trust's annual valentine's day flower count. Credit Steve Haywood

Volunteer Hayley Jones helps out at the National Trust’s annual valentine’s day flower count. Credit Steve Haywood

Gardeners and volunteers at 23 National Trust places across the South West took part in the annual Valentine’s Day flower count which first started in Devon and Cornwall in 2006.This year 1,464 plants were recorded in gardens across the whole of the South West compared 1,455 in 2013.  In 2008 3,335 plants in bloom were recorded, marking the earliest spring so far recorded.

The highest numbers of flowers were recorded at Saltram with 153 blooms, while Lanhydrock saw the biggest drop in numbers of blooms from 136 in 2013 to 89 this year.

Caroline Goulding counting blooms at Trelissick garden. Credit Steven Haywood

Caroline Goulding counting blooms at Trelissick garden. Credit Steven Haywood

“The season at Lanhydrock is much later than previous years and I’ve recorded rainfall every day for the last 63 days.  However, we do have plenty of buds waiting to flower when the weather eventually improves,” said Tommy Teagle, Head Gardener at Lanhydrock.

Ian Wright, South West Gardens Adviser said: “Comparing the number of plants across our gardens on a set day every year gives us a real insight into how our gardens respond to weather patterns, and is a useful ‘barometer’ for the season ahead.

“Gardens in the South West are usually the furthest advanced in the UK with early spring blooms and, this year, thanks to the mild weather and very few hard frosts are very slightly up on last year. 

“There are some encouraging signs of spring with bountiful displays of snowdrops at Kingston Lacy in Dorset and masses of cyclamen and spring bulbs at Killerton in Devon.

“In some cases things are a little behind; but the milder conditions, albeit very wet and windy, have so far not affected early blooming shrubs and flowers; although many are still holding back for drier and brighter conditions.

“The usual show stoppers are showing promising signs; there is a profusion of buds on Camellias in particular, which are just beginning to open. Magnolias are also showing promising signs for a spectacular, if slightly later than normal, show. So let’s keep our fingers crossed for a frost free finish to winter,” he added.

A rare bloom has also been discovered in Cornwall this year with the flowering of Trelissick’s Rhododendron Magnificum plant.  It’s flowering for only the second time in 30 years.  

Trelissick's rare Rhododendron 'Magnificum'.  Credit Steven Haywood

Trelissick’s rare Rhododendron ‘Magnificum’. Credit Steven Haywood

This enigmatic plant was discovered growing in the remote, rain drenched Adung Gorge in Northern Burma in 1931 by Frank Kingdon Ward (the only location in which it is known to grow in the wild).  One of the rarest Rhododendrons in cultivation, it’s very tender and difficult to grow and is only found in a few of the mildest gardens.

As part of the flower count, the National Trust has also been asking supporters what their favourite spring flower is, with the snowdrop coming out top as the most popular, followed by daffodils and primroses.  Supporters also voted their top three spring flower gardens in the South West as: Cotehele, Lanhydrock and Trelissick.

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2 thoughts on “South West gardens blooming despite the weather for Valentine’s flower count

  1. Pingback: Rare Bloom at Trelissick – Rhododendrom ‘Magnificum’. | deborahdoylebablog

  2. Pingback: Rare Bloom at Trelissick – Rhododendrom ‘Magnificum’. | BA Applied Media Blog

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