The Joys of Spring

I have to admit that spring is my favourite season. This year it represents more than ever hope: the end of a particularly difficult winter for all of us and the advent of longer days and warmer weather.


But as gardeners we know that chilly nights are a reminder that summer is a little way off; many of us will have had our gardens touched by frost very recently, and in my garden I have had a few losses. Nonetheless the tulips are looking good, the hellebores that started flowering weeks ago are still going, and my pulmonarias are a cheery reminder of things to come.

If I have a favourite month then it has to be May. The succession of flowers that are to be seen in late April spread into May and just as they are turning are replaced with the showy blooms of Azaleas, Magnolias and Rhododendrons. There are many others of course; May represents an early insight into summer. Let’s hope it’s a good one!

If you can drag yourself away from your own garden then spring is the ideal time to look at others. With the easing of restrictions all the great gardens are opening up, and in Cumbria there is a garden only a mile or so from Windermere that is special on many counts. Holehird Gardens is as many of you no doubt know, the home of the Lakeland Horticultural Society who are celebrating their 50th anniversary. The gardens are run by volunteers who have recently been asked to select their 50 plant favourites, now the subject of a book. What a wonderful idea!

Another interesting feature of Holehird Gardens is the fact that it is home to four national collections of plants: Meconopsis, Astilbe, Daboecia and Polystichum. It also has a Lakeland Collection of Hydrangea. These are particularly suited to the climatic conditions of the Lake District.

Holehird describes itself as ‘A Lakeland Garden for all Seasons’ and this is certainly very true.  May is particularly beautiful, when of course the Meconopsis can be seen in all their glory. May is also the month of Rhododendrons and Azaleas there.

Spring is also a great time to visit a flower show. This year I will be going to the Harrogate Spring Flower Show. Everything will be a bit different due to restrictions but at least it is going ahead! Many places require that you book a timed slot, and most places use e – tickets that are booked easily online. There is something particularly lovely about a spring show. Everything is so fresh, and the fragrances of spring are so different to that of the summer.

Invariably on your return to your own garden you will be fired up with ideas and inspired by the things you have seen. You’ll also appreciate just how much there is to do, as spring is a busy time!

Happy gardening


David Fletcher MCIHort is a fully qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, and has been a gardener most of his life, both as a professional and an amateur.


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© Stuart Fraser - Landscape Artist