Best in the Gardens – April

April’s collection of unmissable plants.

Apr 7 2022

Spring has well and truly arrived at the Gardens, with new shoots, buds and blossoms appearing throughout as we welcome warmer weather and longer days. This special time of year sees a number of short-lived but beautiful flowering plants that simply cannot be missed. So for your perfect itinerary for a springtime wander, read on and find out what to see at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens this month.

Fothergilla major 'Witch Alder'

(foth-er-GIL-la MAY-jor)

A photograph of the plant Fothergilla major (Witch Alder)

This shrub is sometimes known by the common name of ‘Witch Alder’, probably due to its close relation to Hamamelis or ‘Witch Hazel’. However, its flowers are very different to those borne by its cousin, appearing more like the bottle brushes of Australia. As well as being a good plant of interest for its spring flowers, it also has a vibrant autumn colour so makes a great addition to the garden across the seasons.

Fritillaria imperialis

(frit-il-AR-ee-uh im-peer-ee-AL-is)

A photograph of the plant Fritillaria imperialis

Best known as ‘crown imperial’, this bulb is native to mountainous regions in Turkey, western Iran and eastern Kashmir. Growing in a tall spike and producing a whirl of bell-shaped flowers, capped with a crown of foliage, its unique shape offers an exotic pop of colour to borders in late spring.

Magnolia ‘Fairy White’


A photograph of the plant Magnolia ‘Fairy White’

While many magnolias are known for their short-lived seasonal interest, a few varieties (including ‘Fairy White’) are evergreen, offering rich green leaves that remain throughout the year. This small tree produces a flurry of large white flowers along its stems in spring, but can keep flowering sporadically into summer and beyond.

Malus ‘Katherine’


A photograph of the plant Malus ‘Katherine’

A beautiful, double flowering variety of crab apple, this tree is now very rare in cultivation due to an influx of new varieties onto the market. Flowering profusely in spring, crab apples produce colourful and edible fruits, making them ideal to grow in the garden.

Tulipa sylvestris

(TOO-li-pa sil-VESS-triss)

A photograph of the plant Tulipa sylvestris

Tulips are always a popular choice for a spring display, with many coming from cultivated varieties bred for their stunning, colourful flowers. However, some wild varieties of tulips can also be quite wonderful in the garden and look particularly striking when grown in grass or a meadow setting.

Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘Anne Russell’

(vy-BUR-num berk-WOOD-ee-eye)

A photograph of the plant Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘Anne Russell’

Although there are several forms of this evergreen shrub, this highly fragrant Viburnum hybrid is considered the best in terms of flower and scent. With cheerful clusters of white flowers produced from bright pink buds, this delightful April blossom is as fragrant as it is beautiful.

For information on where to find more plants of current interest in the Gardens, take a look at the guide and map.

Though our spring blooms are particularly spectacular, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens make for a fantastic day out all year round. Why not see what the Gardens have to offer you throughout the seasons with a membership? Find out more and buy yours today.