With the days starting to get longer and the weather improving in March, it’s the perfect time of year to visit Sir Harold Hillier Gardens. Home to an array of beautiful plants, flowers and shrubs, there’s no doubt that spring is one of the best times to explore the Gardens.
Read on to discover some of the best in bloom at the Gardens this month and why you should pay a visit during this time of year.
Known commonly as spike witch hazel, this bright shrub’s branches become filled with racemes of sweetly scented yellow flowers in early spring. Originating from Japan, you’ll notice several other species in flower as you journey through the Gardens at this time of year.
Prunus cerasifera ‘Pendula’
This species of early flowering cherry is sometimes known as the ‘Cherry Plum’, as their fruits are more like plums than cherries. Though edible, their fruits are generally not as nice to eat as true plums.
This species is one of the first cherries to flower and comes in many interesting forms. The specimen we have at the Gardens is the rarely seen pendulous form, so it’s worth taking the time to examine this beautiful tree in all its springtime glory.
Of course it wouldn’t be spring without some delightful varieties of Narcissus popping up in borders throughout the Gardens. From the impactful ‘Tête-à-tête’, to the more delicate ‘Wild Daffodil’ and even the rarely spotted Narcissus cyclamineus dwarf daffodil, these bright bulbs are vibrant signals of warmer weather and lighter days.
Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys'
Sometimes known as ‘Black Pussy Willow’, this striking variety bears attractive black catkins in early spring, which are often sought after by florists for floral arrangements. Requiring a bit of attention, it’s recommended to prune this shrub back each spring to encourage growth and allow it to reach its full visual potential.
Ribes sanguineum ‘Elkington’s White’
This attractive flowering shrub is also known as the flowering currant, so-called after the dark fruits that it bears once its spring blooms have faded. It has particular significance in Hampshire, as this form was discovered by Patricia Elkington, National Garden Scheme (NGS) County Organiser for Hampshire, in her beautiful garden.
Native to woodland in the Himalayas and China, this bushy shrub bears clusters of lightly fragrant yellow flowers that start to appear in late winter and early spring. This member of the Daphne family, commonly known as the Oriental Paperbush, has been around for around for 200 years, but is not yet widely known in UK gardens.
Early spring is the perfect time to catch a glimpse of all the camellias in bloom, so make sure you pay a visit to some of our camellia dominant areas during your trip to the Gardens. You’ll find many fine examples of this popular plant around Spring Walk and Hydrangea Walk.
This is a beautiful, compact, small flowered species native to Taiwan, found growing on mountainsides and particularly common on Mt Noko, after which it is named.
This spring flowering shrub is native to Japan. When first introduced to the UK in the 1840s, it was trained as a wall shrub, where often the wall’s heat would bring on early flowering. While they still grow well on a wall or fence, early flowering isn’t always ideal in our climate as the flowers can be damaged by frost.
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.