Last weekend the Welsh Rose and I had our two sets of parents visiting. On the Sunday (forecast sunny) we showed them Sheffield Botanical Gardens.
A fantastic effect had been achieved with drifts of spring bulbs (mostly crocus) under trees:
Further down the hill, a traditional bedding-plants display was also providing early-spring interest. I’m not particularly keen on the effort required to do a lot of bedding, but this is part of the garden’s link with its own history and is done really well:
A Prunus subhirtella was in bud, ready to flower; it made me pine for the one I’d left behind in Cogges:
There was amazing, scarlet new growth on this Acer palmatum “Sango-kaku”, sprouting from dusky-pink branchlets and grey-pink branches, losing colour as it aged towards its base:
Blue-and-yellow asters were peeking out from underneath shrubs elsewhere, adding to the variety at ground level:
And because growth was still checked a little by winter, there were often lovely vistas through the park; like this one, from near the rose garden:
Even so, in those bushes off to the left, there was one of the first rhododendron flowers I’ve seen this year. I’m not mad-keen on the everyday rhodo varieties, but the acid soil around here is perfect for them and they really do seem to be having something of a good time, despite the cold:
Roses were starting to bud:
And this beautiful, young Prunus dulcis “Ingrid” was already blossoming its heart out:
A close-up of those gorgeous flowers:
As we rounded back up towards the glasshouses, we saw buds on the horse chestnuts, excitingly sticky to the touch:
And more bedding plants, again as part of the garden’s theme:
SBG is always an amazing garden, and its free access gives it a different feel from botanic(-al) gardens elsewhere, like Oxford’s. I only wish the on-site cafe’s management had taken as much notice of the weather forecast as everyone else: despite the best efforts of the lovely members of staff there, the six of us couldn’t wait 45 extra minutes for quite simple food, when two of us had a train to catch!
But we’ll be back, SBG; we’ll be back. We just might bring our own sandwiches next time.