Sheffield Botanical Gardens, winter into spring

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:

Mound of crocus

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:

Bedding plants

A Prunus subhirtella was in bud, ready to flower; it made me pine for the one I’d left behind in Cogges:

Prunus subhirtella buds

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:

Acer palmatum "Sango-kaku"

Blue-and-yellow asters were peeking out from underneath shrubs elsewhere, adding to the variety at ground level:

Blue and yellow asters

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:

View from rose garden across to the fountain

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:

Rhododendron in bloom

Roses were starting to bud:

Rose bud

And this beautiful, young Prunus dulcis “Ingrid” was already blossoming its heart out:

Prunus dulcis "Ingrid"

A close-up of those gorgeous flowers:

Prunus dulcis "Ingrid"

As we rounded back up towards the glasshouses, we saw buds on the horse chestnuts, excitingly sticky to the touch:

Horse chestnut buds

And more bedding plants, again as part of the garden’s theme:

Bedding plants

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.


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