For those who haven’t visited, Beth Chatto’s Garden is a horticultural paradise located in Essex, England. In March, visitors can expect to see a range of unique features and highlights that make Beth Chatto’s Garden a must-see destination for anyone with an interest in gardening or nature.
One of the most striking things about Beth Chatto’s Garden in March is the abundance of early spring blooms. As winter fades and the weather begins to warm up, the garden comes alive with an array of colourful flowers and blossoms. The famous Gravel Garden is a great place to start exploring the garden. This innovative garden was created in the 1990s, and features plants that are adapted to dry conditions, making it an ideal spot for early bloomers like crocuses, daffodils, and tulips. Visitors can expect to see bright pops of colour as they stroll along the winding paths that wind through the garden.
In addition to the early spring blooms, March is also a great time to explore the woodland areas of Beth Chatto’s Garden. The woodland gardens are home to a wide range of plant species, including ferns, shrubs, and trees. Another highlight of Beth Chatto’s Garden in March is the chance to see the garden’s many rare and unusual plant species. Beth Chatto was a pioneer of ecological gardening and her garden is a testament to her commitment to sustainable practices. Visitors can expect to see a range of native and non-native plants that are perfectly suited to the local climate and soil conditions.
The Barbican Conservatory is a tropical and sub-tropical botanical glass-roofed garden located on the third floor of the Barbican. It’s an ideal place to visit during the winter months (and all-year round) but on 16th March we hit the jackpot and were thrilled to see Clivia plants in full flower – perfect timing, as it is this month’s Plant of the Month!
This is the second largest conservatory in London (Kew gardens’ Temperate House being the largest). Opened in 1984, the walkways and terraces have been designed to encourage visitors to wander the pathways and along the walkways in order to explore and experience an urban jungle and to observe the characteristic form of every plant. Amongst the tropical planting, various exotic palms stand out and the handsome foliage of Monstera deliciosa (swiss cheese house-plant as we know it) is there to be admired. The majestically tall weeping fig tree emphasises the height of the conservatory and frames everything around it. Wide, arching stems of the handsome tree fern and the striking tree, Araucaria heterophylla (which we rested under), plus unusual climbers and shrubs including yuccas and cordylines, are amongst the 1500 plant species on show for the public to appreciate.
The blocks of Epimedium look stunning at the moment, the flowers show up beautifully – it was worth cutting back the old leaves at the beginning of the month. New green leaves are just coming through, with lovely red markings.
Lots of the existing shrubs are coming into flower now, especially in the Peace Garden.
All Hail to the Volunteers! (Literally in this case, as our session was abandoned due to hail!)
Anna has sent a picture of her blue garden, which she plants in late winter every year before the Eucomis take over in the summer. The Polyanthus flower clusters are going over but more buds are coming up, including hyacinths and Welsh poppy seedlings. What a striking effect!
And Sue has a succession of bulbs appearing in her pots as her ‘lasagne’ style planting develops through spring.
Spurred by Kathy’s post on Euphorbia in the Old Pond Garden I have taken this photo of E. myrsinites which sits outside my back door all year round. As Kathy points out, Euphorbia are a large and adaptable genus and at this time of year are a real treat. I have found they do particularly well in my gardening conditions and now have several varieties.
In my front garden (such as it is) Euphorbia characias s. wulfenii is usefully seeding itself in a way which looks like I have planted it deliberately, but is actually nothing to do with me at all.
Inspired by Melanie’s wonderful talk to members about the various Rothschild gardens, Sharon & I accompanied her on a trip to see the restoration project at Gunnersbury Park. We had our volunteer project at Charlton House & Gardens firmly in mind throughout the day, and were pleased to find parallels – albeit on a much grander scale there! Gunnersbury was bought by Ealing & Acton council in 1925 (Charlton was bought by Greenwich Council in the 1920s) and used as a public park in much the same way that Charlton Park has been.
In 2018 the “Large Mansion” was restored using Heritage Lottery and other funding and opened as a Museum housing the borough archive. Major parts of the park were included in the funding, the Orangery, lake and orchards for example. The Friends of Gunnersbury Park were instrumental in the restoration effort, and volunteers clearly play a large part in the day-to-day running.
Winter is over, swing in to Spring! The garden is waking up slowly, with Euphorbia amygdaloides robbiae showing signs of becoming a Star Plant. It’s rosettes of zingy lime green are unfurling and it really shines out in the sun.
These simple, unsophisticated plants, which rarely receive the recognition they deserve for all their efforts in growing and flowering, year in, year out, without asking for any help from anyone or anything, are among many unsung heroes of the gardening world.
Also showing off, Cornus mas or Cornelian Cherry in the Peace Garden, and lungwort, borage, rosemary, to name just a few.
Maggie’s lovely spring garden. The flowering shrub is Exochorda “Magical Springtime” and was a Mother’s Day present a few years ago, what clever children she has!
Christine’s alpine trough, with Thrift in full swing. Lovely blossom on the tree.
Muscari latifolium coming out, just as Hyacinth Splendid Cornelia is going over, on Kathy’s sunny bit of the patio. Rose Cottage bulbs again, they were a winner!
So maybe we have a local heron who is going round checking out members gardens? Chris’ visitor from yesterday has popped over to look at Kathy’s pond. Thankfully the pond is netted, otherwise his breakfast would have been toad spawn..
Here are two of Chris B’s shrubs, looking very good this Spring – Spiraea arguta Bridal Wreath and Viburnham tinus:
Chris was surprised to see this visitor – a Heron, checking out her garden!
Angela says she is not a fan of tulips generally, but the Rose Cottage speaker we had last year convinced her to try these wild tulips, Tulipa sylvestris, and she is so pleased with them. They do look lovely in a “woodland” setting like this.
Jenny’s Camellia is looking wonderful, she says its thanks to all the rain, and she didn’t have to do a thing!
From my kitchen table I am fortunate in being able to admire a shrub growing in a pot on the patio table that is looking glorious at the moment.
Westringia rosemarinformis is an Australian native and commonly known as the Australian rosemary. I was given this plant as a cutting a few years ago and it has grown into a lovely shape. Margaret T has a large shrub growing on the sheltered, south-facing wall of her front garden, where it has thrived for about 12 years.
This is a truly fantastic shrub to grow in London’s dry, sheltered gardens and seems to be completely unknown. Its specialness derives from the fact it flowers during the winter months and will keep on flowering for months afterwards. I imagine Margaret purchased her Westringia from a rare plant fair or specialist nursery years ago.
Westringia is a genus of 25 species, found all over Australia and comprised of rounded to erect specimens from dry coastal, heathland or dry forest areas, which make them ideal to grow as rounded shrubs or as hedging in Australian gardens.
In the UK they are regarded more as conservatory plants, but if they are given a hot, sheltered position, they will thrive happily for many, many years. They tend to like a fertile, well drained soil, with sharp sand and compost added to the mix, although I imagine they grow in poor soil in Australia.
The small, lavender-coloured flowers are not scented but I think they have an orchid-like appearance, with contrasting orange stamens. They are exceedingly beautiful to look at in close-up.
Margaret would be happy to supply cuttings to those interested in growing this shrub (contact email@example.com)