Crowds of Valentine blooms herald the beginning of spring with 32% more plants in flower than the same time last year

  • Gardens in Cornwall have seen an increase of 33% more blooms than last year and Devon have gone up by 31%
  • Saltram closely followed by Knightshayes in Devon both have the most blooms out in any National Trust garden in the South West.

We all want to be individual and stand out from the crowd but in the garden world not all the flowers associated with spring are big individual show-offs, sometimes it’s about teaming up with your neighbours.

Snowdrops, daffodils, aconites, crocus, cyclamen …they may not be much to look as isolated individuals but they can be truly breath-taking and awe inspiring on mass.

National Trust garden teams have once again been out and about counting blooms for the annual Valentine’s Day Flower Count and are heralding the very beginnings of spring.

2,287 plants are blooming in this year’s 13th annual Valentine’s Flower cunt, 32% up on last year’s figure of 1,737, although numbers are down on 2016 where the south west saw 2,644 blooms. Both Cornwall and Devon have seen an increase this year with 33% & 31% more blooms despite the recent cold snap.

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Prior Park recruits youngest head gardener

Alice Palfrey with the Palladian Bridge at Prior Park in the background (c) National Trust / Clare Green

The youngest head gardener in the National Trust has just started worked at Prior Park Landscape Garden in Bath.

Alice Palfrey, who is 29, already has seven years of National Trust gardening and rangering under her belt. She comes to her new role with both experience of looking after Prior Park, and enthusiasm to take the garden forward and continue the process of restoring it to its 1764 state and the time of creator Ralph Allen’s death. Continue reading…

Clouds Hill: Desert to Dorset

A visitor relaxing in the garden at Clouds Hill ©National Trust/Tony Gill

To mark 100 years since T E Lawrence’s part in the Great Arab Revolt, the National Trust team at Clouds Hill in Dorset will be hosting an array of events from 6-21 May which explore the life of this secretive and fascinating man.

Bronze bust of T E Lawrence by Eric Kennington in the Book Room at Clouds Hill ©National Trust/John Hammond

Bronze bust of T E Lawrence by Eric Kennington in the Book Room at Clouds Hill ©National Trust/John Hammond

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Prior Park head gardener retires after 20 years

Prior Park Matthew Ward retires (c)National Trust/Clare Green

After almost 20 years as head gardener, Matthew Ward is leading his last guided tour, before hanging up his trowel and heading off with wife Hillary into a well-deserved retirement.

After 37 years as a National Trust gardener, Matthew has untold tales to tell and knowledge to impart.  His 20 years at Prior Park have seen him lead a number of major restoration projects, in the aim to restore the garden to its 1764 state, and the time of creator Ralph Allen’s death. Continue reading…

Rare handkerchief tree in bloom at National Trust’s Dunster Castle

Handkerchief in flower (c)National Trust/John Miller

A rarely found tree in the UK is currently in bloom in the tropical climate of the river garden at the National Trust’s Dunster Castle, near Minehead in Somerset.  The warm, dry weather over recent months has meant that the unusual handkerchief tree has started to bloom earlier than usual. 

When fluttering in the breeze, the flowers look like a collection of hankies or white birds ruffling their feathers, meaning it’s sometimes known as the Dove Tree or Davidia involucrate.  Visitors will be able to see the tree for around three weeks when it flowers, until the end of May.  Continue reading…